BOSTON (AP) — Rajon Rondo had 22 points and 14 assists in his second straight outstanding game against the Miami Heat, leading the Boston Celtics to a 107-102 victory Wednesday night.
Rondo hit a 3-pointer at the 24-second buzzer to make it 60-58 early in the third quarter and the Celtics never trailed after that, although Miami stayed close. Boston won its second straight game after losing three in a row, while Miami lost for the fifth time in six games despite 30 points and 13 assists from Dwyane Wade.
The last time the teams met, the Celtics won 112-106 on Jan. 6 after Rondo's layup on a pass from Paul Pierce a split-second before the fourth-quarter buzzer sent the game into overtime. Rondo finished that game with 25 points.
Pierce was on the bench in street clothes for the rematch after spraining his left foot Monday night in a 99-88 win at Washington. Coach Doc Rivers said Pierce, Boston's leading scorer, would miss at least one more game.
Ray Allen scored 23 points, including five three throws in the last 32 seconds, and Kevin Garnett added 14 and a season-high nine assists for Boston. Rafer Alston and Udonis Haslem each scored 15 points for Miami.
The Celtics were leading 97-94 when Tony Allen stripped the ball from Wade near the Miami free throw line with 37 seconds left. He was fouled and made both shots for a 99-94 lead. That forced the Heat to foul and the Celtics scored their last eight points on free throws.
Wade gave the Heat one last chance when his 3-pointer cut Boston's lead to 105-102 with 7 seconds left, but Ray Allen secured the win with two free throws with 4.9 seconds to go.
With the score tied at 74 entering the fourth quarter, the Celtics scored the first five points. They led 82-78 after Wade hit a free throw, then scored the next six points on a short jumper by Rasheed Wallace followed by a dunk and a layup by Kendrick Perkins that gave them the biggest lead of the game, 88-78 with 6:36 to go.
Miami dropped below .500 at 24-25 after the opener of a stretch of eight road games and just one home game.
The Celtics' biggest lead of the first half was seven points. But with the score 39-32 after a 3-pointer by Wallace, Miami cut it to 45-44 on two free throws by Wade. And Michael Beasley tied it at 51 with a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds to go.
Then Daequan Cook fouled Rondo near midcourt with 0.3 seconds left and the point guard hit two of three shots for a 53-51 halftime lead.
Notes: Jermaine O'Neal played for the Heat after missing their previous game with back spasms. ... Both teams hit more than 51 percent of their shots in the first half. ... The Celtics swept the season series 3-0.