Paul Pierce and LeBron James both fouled out, and Dwyane Wade missed a shot at the buzzer as the Celtics held off the Heat in overtime, 93-91, to tie the Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece.
James fouled out with 1:51 left overtime. He fouled out for the fourth time in his career and the first time since April of 2008, when he was with Cleveland. Pierce fouled out with 4:22 remaining in the game, the second time he’s fouled out this series. This time, however, the Celtics were able to pull through.
Just as they did Friday night, the Celtics got off to a hot start. The 34 points the Celtics scored in the first quarter of Game 4 were their most points scored in a first quarter this season. Rajon Rondo had 8 points and 4 assists in the first quarter, while Brandon Bass had 7 points and 5 rebounds, three of them offensive, as the Celtics built their lead.
The Celtics made seven 3-pointers in the first half, many of them set up by the acrobatics of Rondo, who had 10 assists at the break. One one play, Rondo literally ran into Mike Miller in the paint but was able to contort his body enough to find Keyon Dooling in the corner for an open shot. During a sideline interview before walking off the court at halftime, Rondo was asked how the Celtics were able to exploit the Miami defense.
“Them complaining and crying to referees in transition,” said Rondo. Shot fired.
Pierce led the Celtics with 18 points at the half.
After putting up 61 points in the first half, the Celtics managed just 12 points in the third quarter on 5 of 16 shooting. Pierce and Rondo each picked up their fourth fouls in the period, and Boston finished the quarter without them, clinging to a five-point lead to start the fourth.
The fourth quarter wasn’t much prettier. The Celtics were 0 for 5 to begin the period, their field goal drought spanning more than six minutes between the third and fourth quarters. Boston managed just 16 points in the fourth, but they clamped down defensively, holding Miami to 6 of 15 shooting and forcing overtime.
Both James and Pierce fouled out in the extra frame, but Wade’s miss at the buzzer capped a dramatic game and tied the series, which heads back to Miami for Game 5 Wednesday night. James led the Heat with 29 points. Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists for the Celtics.
Final: Celtics 93, Heat 91
21.4 seconds OT, Celtics 93-91: Rondo makes one of two free throws. Heat have to look for Wade here.
23.5 seconds OT, Celtics 92-91: Loose ball foul on Haslem, Celtics ball.
1:51 OT, Celtics 92-91: James fouls out. Wow. Never thought we’d see that in a playoff game.
4:20 OT, Tied at 89: Pierce fouls out.
End regulation, Tied at 89: James gives it up to Haslem, who puts up a contested shot that falls short. We’re headed to the second overtime of the series.
21.1 seconds 4th quarter, Tied at 89: Lots going on. KG gets good post position and scores. James hits a 3-pointer. Garnett called for an offensive foul on the other end, giving Miami the ball.
1:01 4th quarter, Celtics 87-86: Mario Chalmers drives and cuts the lead to one.
1:17 4th quarter, Celtics 87-84: Heat getting plenty of looks and can’t convert. Another offensive rebound keeps it here.
3:38 4th quarter, Tied at 83: Pierce picks up a charge, his fifth personal. Big call.
5:32 4th quarter, Celtics 81-79: James picks up his 5th personal foul guarding KG in the post. He’s not to happy about it.
6:23 4th quarter, Celtics 81-78: Talk about a big shot from Ray Allen. Those three points felt like 30. Garnett has renewed energy as well. Bass is the wild card entry in Boston’s lineup right now, and he’ll likely stay in there until he fouls out.
8:54 4th quarter, Tied at 74: Miami is all the way back. The Celtics can’t get out of their own way on offense. They’ve scored just 13 points since halftime. They’re 0 for 5 in the quarter and don’t have a field goal in the last 5:51.
9:49 4th quarter, Celtics 73-69: Great block by Pietrus, but then him and everyone else decides not to run up the floor with the Celtics on offense. The C’s don’t score when they go slow.
END 3d quarter, Celtics 73-68: Here’s that run we knew was coming. The Celtics are lost on offense without Rondo on the floor. They weren’t particularly effective with him on it for the first part of the third quarter: just 12 points in the third quarter for the Celtics. Wade was 4 of 5 in the period.
3:35 3d quarter, Celtics 69-60: Big big call on Rondo, an offensive foul for his fourth. He’s got to come out of the game. Meanwhile, the Celtics have scored just eight points in the quarter.
6:03 3d quarter, Celtics 65-54: Pierce and Rondo both have three fouls now. The game is getting chippy.
9:33 3d quarter, Celtics 61-49: Rondo gets called for an offensive foul, his second. KG had a serious block on LeBron earlier, which is probably something we didn’t think we’d see this series.
Halftime, Celtics 61-47: The Celtics didn’t close well, but they’ll take this lead heading into the break. Rondo has 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists. Pierce leads the Celtics with 18 points, while James has 19 for Miami. Dwyane Wade has 8 points but is 2 for 11 from the field.
1:09 2d quarter, Celtics 61-44: Rondo gets called for a charge on Battier, then kicks Battier while both players are on the ground. That’s a technical.
2:38 2d quarter, Celtics 57-40: Pierce does one of his patented fake, lean, and throws, and gets it to go. It’s all working.
3:12 2d quarter, Celtics 55-38: Another great pass from Rondo to a cutting Pierce. The margin for error on these plays is close to zero, and Rondo is executing them to perfection. He’s got 9 assists.
4:48 2d quarter, Celtics 49-34: Offensive foul on LeBron. Offensive foul on LeBron.
6:53 2d quarter, Celtics 47-32: Both Rondo and KG off the floor now. Let’s see what happens here.
9:11 2d quarter, Celtics 35-28: Another 3-pointer by Dooling. The Celtics are 6 of 8 from back there.
10:23 2d quarter, Celtics 42-26: Rondo with a ridiculous kick to the corner for a Keyon Dooling 3-pointer. Not sure how Rondo saw Dooling with Mike Miller draped all over him. That’s 7 assists for Rondo. Ray Allen is now 2 for 2 on 3-pointers.
END 1st quarter, Celtics 34-23: Another great first quarter for the Celtics, who shoot 59 percent to take an 11-point lead. Brandon Bass had a great quarter with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. Three of his rebounds were offensive.
One thing Boston could improve on is their five turnovers.
18.3 seconds 1st quarter, Celtics 34-23: Udonis Haslem tackles Pierce on an offensive rebound, sending the Celtics captain to the line for two.
2:03 1st quarter, Celtics 25-17: Marquis Daniels has two personals already.
4:46 1st quarter, Celtics 21-9: Doc Rivers is up by 12 points and still felt compelled to call a timeout. Greg Stiemsma’s coming in.
5:44 1st quarter, Celtics 18-4: Wade and James are a combined 0 for 5. Rondo finds KG for a layup, and this building is going nuts.
7:05 1st quarter. Celtics 14-4: Pierce makes his first 3-point attempt, then Allen makes one himself. Another great start for the Celtics.
10:17 1st quarter, Celtics 6-0: Good attack by Rondo, getting into the lane and putting up a floater, then taking it all the way to the basket for two.
Pregame: There’s a sense of anticipation in the building as the Celtics look to even the series. Joel Anthony will start over Ronny Turiaf for Miami. No lineup changes for the Celtics. Doc Rivers said he liked what Marquis Daniels gave the Celtics in Game 3, so expect to see more of him. Let’s get it.