One quarter made all the difference for the Celtics on Sunday.
The Green followed up a miserable first half with one of their best quarters of the season in the third, then survived a tense fourth quarter to survive the Miami Heat, 85-82. The Celts sandwiched a 37 percent shooting first half and an 11-point fourth quarter with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor in the third to end the Heat's eight-game winning streak and reclaim the top overall record in the Eastern Conference. It was the Celts third straight win over Miami on the season and ensured the Green a win in the season series.
Kevin Garnett led the C's with 19 points and seven rebounds while Rajon Rondo registered a triple-double with 11 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. The Celts managed to win the game despite the worst game of the season by Paul Pierce, who had just one point and was 0-for-10 from the floor. Glen Davis finished with 16 points for the Celts, including two huge free throws with 6.3 seconds left, while Kendrick Perkins continued his strong play since returning from off-season knee surgery with 15 points and six rebounds.
The Heat were led by Chris Bosh, who scored 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting and added 10 rebounds. LeBron James added 22 for Miami, but was mostly quiet on the afternoon. With a chance to tie the game from the free throw line with 13 seconds remaining, he missed the first of the two. The Heat had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Mike Miller's three-point attempt from the top of the key was wide.
The Celtics trailed 43-39 at the half, but opened the third quarter with a 21-3 run, making their first eight shots of the frame. Rondo scored nine of his 11 in the third and the Celts wound up outscoring the Heat 35-18 in the quarter.
The Celtics (39-14) play just one more game before next weekend's all-star break, on Wednesday night against the Nets in New Jersey.