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Celtics climb back into series

BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo scored 21 points with 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 101-91 victory over the Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night, cutting Miami's lead in the series to 2-1.

Game Four is Sunday night in Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points for Boston.

LeBron James scored 34 points, but the NBA MVP and the rest of the Heat went cold during a 7-minute stretch at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, when Boston outscored them, 15-0, to turn a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

"The difference was our defensive energy," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

James scored 16 points in the first quarter but had just four points with one rebound and one assist in the fourth, when Miami cut a 24-point deficit to eight. Mike Miller hit consecutive three-pointers during an 11-0 run that cut the deficit to 95-87.

Miami still trailed by eight points, with the ball, when Dwyane Wade missed and Ray Allen grabbed the rebound, sending Rondo on a fast break that made it a 99-89 with 99 seconds to play. James threw the ball away underneath, then missed a three-point attempt the next time down -- one of only four shots he took in the fourth quarter.

Pierce found Garnett for a long jumper at the other end, and the teams began emptying their benches.

"They got us tonight," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We still have a golden opportunity and we know that."

Coming off his 44-point effort in the Game Two loss in Miami, in which he played every second of regulation and overtime, Rondo was 9 for 16 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Marquis Daniels led the Boston bench with nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.

Wade scored 18 points and Mario Chalmers had 14 points for Miami.

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