BOSTON - Got drama? Game 4 certainly did. Leading by two points, the Boston Celtics led the Miami Heat, 93-91, with under 24 seconds to go in overtime and Miami possessing the ball. Miami inbounded to Wade, who wound down the shot clock, and ultimately missed a potential series clinching three to give Boston a thrilling 93-91 win on Friday evening.
"Red [Auerbach] wasn't going to let that go in, you know that," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said about Wade's last second shot. "I thought it looked good when it left his hands."
Rajon Rondo, who scored thee crucial points in overtime, finished with 15 points and 15 assists for Boston. Pierce, who fouled out in overtime, had a team-high 23 points. Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Ray Allen scored 16, Brandon Bass had 11 points and Keyon Dooling scored 10. Boston shot 41 percent and made 9-of-27 threes.
"Words can't even describe the type of game it is," said Paul Pierce. "I mean it's a funny game, you know, the way the ball bounces, the way things go. I mean, started out way up the big lead, to come back and I was sitting there on the sideline in overtime. I was like, this is probably going to be an instant classic type of game. It was just like, you know, one team gets momentum and the other team just grabs it. I'm just glad we were on the winning side."
LeBron James, who also fouled out in overtime for the first time in a Heat uniform, had 29 points and Wade scored 20. Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem (17 rebounds) each scored 12 for Miami, which shot 43 percent and made 6-of-19 threes but had 17 turnovers.
"They got everything they wanted and more in the first half," James said. "They shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter. We weren't flying around like we're capable of doing. We waited until the second half, which we can't do."
An energetic Garden crowd spurred the Celtics off to a 14-4 start, capped off by a pair of threes from Pierce, in the corner, and then from Allen, straightaway, both of which sent the crowd into a frenzy (or at least, even more of a frenzy). Miami missed six of its first eight shots and coughed the ball up three times during that stretch, digging itself a hole.
The run continued after Miami's first timeout, with Pierce hitting another three from the corner after Garnett accidentally gave Miami a bucket (literally, it went off him into the basket; points credited to James), to make it a 21-6 contest. Mike Miller answered with a contested three, which quieted the Garden crowd heading into the Celtics' first timeout.
The offense slowed down for Boston, which was held scoreless for nearly two and a half minutes until Rondo made an acrobatic layup (not so coincidentally, Garnett came out of the lineup at the Celtics' timeout). Miami went on a 6-0 run during that stretch to trim its deficit to 21-15. Boston closed out to quarter on a 13-8 run and led 34-23 after one period.
Pierce and James each had big quarters, with each scoring 12 points in the opening half.
Miami again couldn't slow down Boston's offense at the start of the second, as a 11-5 run pushed the C's lead to 45-28 with 9:45 before halftime after back-to-back-to-back threes from Allen and Keyon Dooling, who made two straight. Boston pushed its lead up to 17 again on four occasions in the quarter and even built an 18-point lead (61-43) before finishing the first half with a 61-47 edge. Pierce had 18 first-half points while James had 19.
Not surprisingly, the Heat made their run in the third quarter with a 21-point frame, cutting into Boston's double-digit halftime lead to make it a 73-68 lead entering the fourth quarter. Wade led the charge with nine points. Boston didn't score until the 8:45 mark of the third, a Rondo two, and went scoreless from 8:03 to 4:52, before finishing the quarter with 12.
James capped off a 7-0 run to start the fourth with a layup at 8:53, tying the game at 74-74 and erasing the Celtics' lead (which was once as large as 18 points). Norris Cole gave the Heat a lead with an uncontested layup, but Garnett answered with a game-tying layup.
Bass would commit an ill-advised foul (his fifth) on Cole, who was shooting beyond the arc. Cole made two of three shots from the stripe, pushing the Heat lead to 78-76. Allen hit a big corner three to give Boston the lead back, 79-78, and Garnett tipped in a missed Bass jump shot on the ensuing Celtics possession to push Boston past the 80-point plateau.
Four straight points from Wade again tied the game, 81-81, and Udonis Haslem made two free throws to put Miami on top 85-83. Boston would answer with consecutive layups from Pierce and Rondo, again putting the Celts in the drivers seat, 85-83, with 3:07 remaining.
Garnett's jumper from the top of the key widened the Celtics' lead to 87-84. Chalmers came up big again after several Heat misses, including a Wade fumble out of bounds, driving to the layup to make it a one-point Celtics lead, 87-86, with 1:01 to go. Not to be outdone, Garnett posted up on James and flipped the ball off the backboard for another two.
James followed with his biggest shot of the series, a wide open three, to knot the score at 89 all. Garnett then committed an offensive foul on the other end, giving the Heat the ball with 21.1 seconds left and no shot clock. Miami inbounded the ball to Wade, who found LeBron with under 10 seconds to play. James passed out of the shot after driving, and Haslem was short on a potential game-winning jumper, forcing overtime, all tied up at 89.
Pierce fouled out early in overtime after shoving Battier, and his absence was immediately evident. His replacement, Marquis Daniels, missed one of two free throws and then coughed up the ball out of bounds on the other end after a rebound. Haslem's dunk gave Miami its first two of OT, but a Rondo floater at 2:32 put the Celtics back up 92-91.
After a possession with two offensive rebounds from Mickael Pietrus, who had been kept off the scoreboard, the Heat got the ball back, but the possession ended with a Haslem offensive foul. Boston inbounded the ball to Rondo, who ran the ball up court before being fouled. He would miss the first free throw but make the second, and the Celtics led 93-91 with 21.4 seconds to go in overtime. Game 5 takes place on Tuesday night in Miami.