Published: Thursday May 31, 2012 MYT 1:30:00 PM
Updated: Thursday May 31, 2012 MYT 2:19:59 PM
NBA: Heat edge Celtics in overtime as Rondo sizzles for Boston
MIAMI (Reuters) - The Miami Heat withstood a virtuoso performance from Rajon Rondo, who tallied a career-high 44 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, to eke out a 115-111 overtime victory over the Boston Celtics and claim a 2-0 Eastern Conference finals lead.
The outstanding Rondo was on court for the entire 53 minutes of a hugely entertaining encounter but was left to put out fires on his own in overtime after Paul Pierce (21 points) fouled out late in the fourth.
Miami had to dig deep to muster an impressive third-quarter comeback to haul themselves back into the contest after trailing by as many as 15 points during the second quarter and went into the halftime interval 53-46 down.
By the end of the third, Miami had moved 81-75 ahead, having outscored the Celtics by 13 points in the quarter, Dwyane Wade finally coming alive with 12 points, after managing only two in the first half.
LeBron James (34 points) missed a jump shot in the final second of regulation with the scores level at 99-99 to send the game, in which Miami missed 16 free throws, into overtime.
With two minutes of the extra period remaining, Rondo thought he had drained a three-pointer, reduced to two on review, to put Boston ahead but baskets from James, Udonis Haslem and Wade carried Miami to victory.
Game Three of the best-of-seven series is in Boston on Friday.