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DOC RIVERS KNEW there was little to say to Rajon Rondo after the Celtics point guard scored a career-best 44 points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
After Boston lost that one, Rivers couldn’t resist offering one piece of advice: It starts with Kevin Garnett.
“Throw it up in the air, Kevin will go get it,” the Celtics coach said he told Rondo. “The only thing we told him offensively was we had to get Kevin involved. Other than that, just go play.”
Garnett did get involved, scoring 24 points — many of his baskets off lobs into the paint — and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead Boston to a 101-91 win over the Heat on Friday night that cut Miami’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
Paul Pierce added 23 points and Rondo followed his Game 2 performance with 21 points and 10 assists to help the Celtics avoid falling into a 3-0 hole after dropping the first two games in Miami.
Game 4 is Sunday night in Boston.
“They defended their home court,” Rondo said. “In a couple of days, we’ll do the same.”
LeBron James scored 34 points, but the NBA MVP and the rest of the Heat went cold during a seven-minute stretch at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, when Boston went on a 15-0 run to turn a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.
The Celtics extended it to 24 early in the fourth quarter before Miami cut it to 95-87 with help from three three-pointers by Mike Miller. But James had a turnover and missed a three-point attempt in the last two minutes to squelch the Heat’s hope of a comeback.
“You’re trying to fight back the whole time,” said James, who scored 16 points in the first quarter but just four with one rebound and one assist in the fourth. “We made a run, but it was too much.”
– Jimmy Golen, AP