The Heat was expecting it at least once or twice this series. It happened on Wednesday on Miamis home court. Rajon Rondo was more than brilliant. He was a maestro, as Heat coach Erik Spoelstra likes to call him.
The Heat still won. Rondo played every second of a 53-minute overtime game and scored 44 points but the Heat still won.
After thoroughly dominating Game 1 of these Eastern Conference finals, the Heat outlasted and outgunned the Celtics when they were at their best in Game 2. In the end, the Heats 115-111 overtime victory might have been more demoralizing to Boston than the initial punch in the face to begin the series.
LeBron James led the Heat with 34 points. He was 7 of 20 from the field but made 18 of 24 from the free-throw line to offset his struggles from the field. The Heat was 31 of 47 from the line (66 percent) while Boston was 26 of 29.
The performance [Rondo] put on tonight will go down in the record books, James said. It was exciting to be a part of it and to win.
Dwyane Wade had 23 points, scoring 21 after the first half, and Mario Chalmers had another postseason breakout game, going 8 of 16 from the field for 22 points.
It was exhausting, Wade said. We never should have dug ourselves that big a hole, but give [Boston] credit.
It was a steal by Chalmers, perhaps the Heats craftiest defender, that set up Wades three-point play with 59.7 seconds left in overtime. The acrobatic bucket and continuation free throw put the Heat ahead by five points. From there, James and Wade made just enough at the free-throw line a combined 4 of 5 to hold off the Celtics.
Rondo, who was 16 of 24 from the field and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line to go along with 10 assists and eight rebounds, made a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left to cut the Heats lead to 114-111. Wade, who was 7 of 11 from the line on the game, then made 1 of 2 to ice the victory in the final seconds.
It was tough to have [Rondo] play that way and not win the game, honestly, because he did everything right, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. We had a lot of opportunities to win the game.
Rondos combination of 44 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds was a first in the history of postseason basketball in the NBA.
Its kind of irrelevant, Rondo said. Its as simple as that.
Heat reserve Udonis Haslem finished with 13 points, including four clutch baskets in overtime, to go along with 11 rebounds.
He seems to thriveone way or another in these games he rises to the occasion, Spoelstra said.
Picture-perfect ball movement gave the Heat a 107-105 lead with 1:27 left in overtime when a pair of passes zipped from Wade to James to Haslem like a laser reflecting off mirrors. Haslem finished the play with a dunk. Chalmers steal and Wades three-point play followed.
The Heat had two chances at the end of regulation but James missed them both. Ray Allen tied the game at 99 with 34 seconds left in regulation. Allen finished with 13 points. Paul Pierce had 21 points and fouled out late in overtime.
A baseline jumper, gave the Heat a four-point lead with 1:08 left in regulation. Following a Celtics timeout, Kevin Garnett finished an alley-oop to cut Miamis lead to two points.