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01/27/2013 8:46 PM EST
Celts top Heat 100-98 in 2 OT; Rondo out for year
BOSTON 100, MIAMI 98 (2 OT)

By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) -- A double-overtime victory against LeBron James and
the defending NBA champions was difficult to celebrate for Paul
Pierce and the Celtics.



News of Rajon Rondo's season-ending knee injury spoiled the
party.



"Everyone was really happy for the win," Pierce said after
Boston beat the Miami Heat 100-98 Sunday. "It brought a dark
cloud in this room when you heard the news."



When coach Doc Rivers told his players after the game, the joy
of ending their six-game losing streak stopped, even if they had
just outlasted the team with the best record in the Eastern
Conference, which came in with a four-game winning streak.



Now the Celtics must try to keep winning without their leader,
who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee
late in Friday night's 123-112 loss, also in double overtime, in
Atlanta.



They won Sunday after Pierce's 22-foot jumper with 31 seconds
left gave them a 99-98 lead.



But making the playoffs got harder as the Celtics try to hang on
to the eighth and final postseason spot in the conference with a
2 1-2-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers.



"Obviously, the Rondo news is pretty tough. I knew it before the
game," Rivers said. "I just didn't think it was any time to tell
any of our guys."



This game was the first in Boston for Ray Allen since he left
the Celtics after five seasons and signed as a free agent with
Miami. He scored 21 points.



Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Pierce added 17
points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Celtics.



Rondo's injury "puts this team and the rest of the guys in a
position to be ready to step up," Pierce said. Sunday's win "was
a perfect example. We showed we are capable."



James had 34 points for the Heat, whose winning streak stopped
at four.



"As much as I've been a rival with Boston over the years, I
never want to see anyone go down," James said. "It's terrible,
not only for their team but for the league."



After Pierce's basket, James had a chance to put the Heat ahead
but missed a 12-foot jumper with 6.8 seconds to go from the left
with defender Jeff Green jumping out at him. Pierce got the
rebound and was fouled by Shane Battier.



He sank the first shot. Then, as a fan shouted "This one's for
Rondo," he missed the second.



Miami had one last chance, but Battier missed a long jumper at
the buzzer.



"They defended that very well," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
"There are about three different options to it, four different
options to it. They defended each one of them."



The Heat also could have won in the first overtime, but Dwyane
Wade, who had 17 points, also missed a long jumper as the buzzer
sounded. They had led 93-89 after consecutive baskets by James,
but Garnett hit a layup with 1:45 remaining and a shot from the
right baseline with 1:14 to go.



Boston could have avoided the first overtime when Pierce
inbounded from behind his backboard with two seconds left to
Jason Terry. But Terry's shot from the top of the key was short.
The Heat had tied it on a 3-pointer by James with seven seconds
remaining in regulation after Allen missed a 3-pointer from the
left corner with 15 seconds to go.



Rivers did not mention Rondo's injury in his meeting with
reporters about an hour before the game, but Courtney Lee
started in his place. Doctors decided to keep Rondo out of the
game after he went through his normal pregame routine but
complained of pain that he thought was in his hamstring. An MRI
was done and team physician Dr. Brian McKeon learned the results
during the game.



Allen was part of the Big Three with Pierce and Garnett starting
in 2007-08. In their first season together, Boston won its 17th
NBA championship. He played against the Celtics once before this
season, a 120-107 Heat win in Miami in the opener.



The crowd gave Allen a standing ovation when highlights of his
career with the Celtics were shown on the video board above
center court during a timeout with 5:33 left in the first
quarter. At the Miami bench, he raised his left hand in
recognition.



"When I saw it, just all those emotions came streaming back from
all the great things we did here," Allen said. "I'll always be a
Celtic in my mind."



Allen entered the game about a minute after the tribute and was
booed when he touched the ball. The boos came down again when he
took two free throws - missing the first, making the second -
three minutes into the second quarter.



Allen went back into the game with 30 seconds left in the first
half with the score tied at 43 and made a layup with 16 seconds
to go. But Pierce sank a driving layup with 4.3 seconds
remaining to tie it 45-45 at halftime.



"What happened to Ray is never good for this franchise," Pierce
said, "but it wasn't about Ray. It was about us playing the
defending champs."



It was Miami's first game in Boston since it won Game 6 of the
Eastern Conference finals behind James' 45 points.



Early in the second half, James hit a pair of 3-pointers from
the same spot on the left, putting the Heat in front 51-48. The
Celtics rallied and led 64-61 with 1:49 remaining in the third
quarter. But the Heat scored the last seven points of the period
on a jumper by Norris Cole, a free throw by Allen and two
15-footers by James and led 68-64 going into the fourth.



Notes: James and Chris Bosh each had 16 rebounds for the Heat.
The last time the Celtics played consecutive double-overtime
games was on March 11 and 13, 1951.

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