Heat Push Celtics to Brink of Elimination; Thunder Win in Third Overtime
The Miami Heat pushed the Boston Celtics to the verge of postseason elimination with an overtime victory. The Oklahoma City Thunder then won 133-123 in triple overtime to tie their National Basketball Association playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
LeBron James scored 35 points and Dwyane Wade added 28 for the Heat, who beat the Celtics 98-90 after outscoring the Eastern Conference champions 12-4 during the overtime period at TD Garden in Boston. The win gives Miami a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven second-round series.
“We’re one more win away from our short-term goal,” Chris Bosh, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, said at a news conference.
Miami hosts Game 5 tomorrow with a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference finals against Chicago or Atlanta. The Bulls and Hawks are tied at two games apiece, with Game 5 scheduled for tonight in Chicago.
The Thunder rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit last night at FedExForum in Memphis and finally pulled away by outscoring the Grizzlies 14-4 in the third overtime.
It was the second NBA playoff game to go three overtimes in the past seven years.
“This was a fun game,” Kevin Durant, who scored 35 points for Oklahoma City, said in a televised interview. “Both teams fought hard. Playing games like this, that’s what you live for.”
Westbrook Leads Thunder
Russell Westbrook scored 40 points to lead the fourth- seeded Thunder, who hit 5-of-7 shots in the final overtime.
Zach Randolph had 34 points and 16 rebounds for Memphis, and Marc Gasol totaled 26 points and 21 rebounds. The Grizzlies made only one basket in the third 5-minute overtime.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Oklahoma City for Game 5 tomorrow. The winner of the series will face the Dallas Mavericks for a place in the NBA Finals. Dallas completed a four-game sweep of the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers two days ago.
Miami is one win away from ousting the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics thanks to its “Big Three” of James, Wade and Bosh. The Heat added James and Bosh during the offseason after losing to Boston in the first round of the NBA playoffs a year ago.
Boston went scoreless for the first three minutes of the 5- minute overtime, while the Heat took control with a 6-0 scoring run. James, Bosh and Wade combined for all 12 of Miami’s points in overtime and 85 percent for the game.
“This team is going to go as far as us three take it,” said Wade, who had lost his previous 11 regular-season and playoff games in Boston. Wade, James and Bosh had totaled 44 points in the Heat’s 97-81 loss in Game 3.
Paul Pierce scored 27 points last night to lead the Celtics, who finished with 18 turnovers. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who returned after suffering a dislocated elbow in Game 3, had 10 points and five assists in 38 minutes.
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