Rondo Has Triple-Double as Celtics Rout Heat

The Celtics outscored the Heat 31-12 in the third quarter, turning a 49-44 halftime lead into an 80-56 advantage. They stayed ahead by at least 19 the rest of the way for their fifth straight win.

Miami’s last three losses have been by at least 15 points and its previous worst defeat of the season came just one week earlier in a 103-87 setback at Oklahoma City.

Rondo finished with 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, reaching the triple-double mark with 8 1/2 minutes to play. It was his 13th consecutive game with at least 10 assists and his fifth triple-double of the season.

The Celtics, combining tenacious defense with outstanding play in transition, increased their Atlantic Division lead to one game over idle Philadelphia.

The Heat, playing their third game in four days, were led by with 23 points but he had no assists for only the second time in his career. Dwyane Wade added 15 points. The Heat continued to struggle on the road, losing for the seventh time in their last 10 games away from home. Miami has the fewest home losses in the league at 21-2 but is only 16-12 on the road.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and Brandon Bass added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Boston.

Miami scored two of the first three baskets of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 51-48. Then the Celtics outscored the Heat 29-8 the rest of the period, hitting 14 of 23 shots while Miami made only 5 of 19. Rondo had eight assists in the quarter.

It was 55-50 when Rondo’s layup began a 17-2 run in which the Heat’s only points were two free throws by Wade. James finally hit a field goal, making it 72-54, but the Celtics scored eight of the remaining 10 points in the quarter.

The Celtics led 29-19 after one, led by Rondo’s 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. They stretched that to 34-23, then went cold offensively while the Heat scored the next 10 points, closing the gap to 34-33.

Bass stopped the drought with a shot from the top of the key with 4:57 left in the first half, Boston’s first points in 4:08.

With the score tied at 40, the Celtics got the next five points on a jumper by Kevin Garnett and a three-point play from Pierce to take a five-point lead.

Notes: Rondo’s streak of double-figure-assists games is the NBA’s longest since Steve Nash had 14 in March-April 2005. … Miami’s Udonis Haslem returned to the team after missing Friday night’s 113-101 win in Toronto, remaining in Florida to attend to a personal matter. … James scored in double figures for his 407th consecutive game. … Boston’s Ray Allen missed his sixth straight game with a sore right ankle. … Avery Bradley made a highlight-reel block on Wade in the second quarter that sent the Miami guard sprawling to the floor. … Chris Bosh scored Miami’s first four points but didn’t score again.

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Heat Hang On to Top Celtics After Nearly Losing 20-Point Lead

Dwyane Wade finished with 24 points and 8 assists for Miami, which got 18 points from Chris Bosh and twice saw its lead cut to 3 in the final minutes. Cole delivered the answer both times with a pair of jump shots, and the Heat escaped.

Ray Allen scored 28 points on 8-for-12 shooting for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points and 12 assists and Keyon Dooling scored 18 off the Boston bench.

Through two games, Miami (2-0) has trailed only once — by 2 points, for all of 14 seconds. The loss was Boston’s second straight, after falling in the season opener to the Knicks, 106-104, on Sunday.

Cole’s jumper with 3 minutes 1 second left gave Miami a 108-98 lead, most of which disappeared in the next 59 seconds, thanks to Dooling — a former Heat guard. He scored 7 straight points, including a 3-pointer with 2:02 remaining, cutting the Heat’s lead to 3. And when Boston got a stop on the next Miami trip, the Celtics looked for Dooling again.

But Wade stepped in front of a pass intended for Dooling, starting a play where James found Cole for another jumper, and Miami’s cushion was back to 110-105 with 1:31 to play.

And with a minute left, it was Cole again, with the biggest shot of the night for Miami. James set him up from the top of the key for another jumper, restoring the 5-point edge. When Cole stepped to the foul line to close the scoring, he got “M-V-P” chants from the Miami crowd, something typically reserved for the likes of Wade, James and Bosh.

Boston was again without forward Paul Pierce (bruised right heel), who worked out Monday and Tuesday and is getting closer to a return. BUCKS 98, TIMBERWOLVES 95 The rookie Jon Leuer converted a 3-point play with 1:17 left, helping Milwaukee hold off Minnesota and give the Bucks a victory in their home opener.

Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and Stephen Jackson added 16 for the Bucks, who were playing without forward Drew Gooden because of a suspension and several other key players because of injuries. Gooden was suspended for Tuesday’s game for his flagrant foul in the season opener, when he was ejected in the third quarter Monday for slamming the Houston Rockets’ Gerald Henderson on the head with his arm as he attempted a driving layup.

Kevin Love had 31 points and 20 rebounds for the Timberwolves, whose late rally came up just short.

Minnesota was without Coach Rick Adelman, who was attending funeral services for his mother-in-law. Assistant Terry Porter, a former head coach in Milwaukee, filled in for Adelman.

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Cole Comes Up Big, Heat Beat Celtics 115-107

No, this wasn’t a scene from his days at Cleveland State.

Taking over in just his second NBA game — and with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all on the floor, no less — Cole scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including three huge jumpers down the stretch to save the Heat in a 115-107 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

“You grow up and live for moments like that,” Cole said.

James scored 26 points, Wade had 24 points, eight assists and four blocks, and Bosh scored 18 for the Heat, which led by 20 points midway through the third quarter before having its lead twice sliced to three points in the final minutes. And both times, Cole took passes from James and knocked down jumpers, keeping short-handed Boston at bay.

“He’s got savvy,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Great pickup.”

Ray Allen scored 28 points on 8 for 12 shooting for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points and 12 assists and Keyon Dooling scored 18 off the Boston bench.

Through two games, Miami (2-0) has trailed only once — by two points, for all of 14 seconds. Boston turned the ball over 24 times, and Miami turned those into 33 points.

“Any team you turn the ball over that much they’re going to score on you,” Allen said. “We just have to settle in on both ends of the floor. Whether you score or not, they’re going to run down your throats.”

Cole’s jumper with 3:01 left gave Miami a 108-98 lead, most of which disappeared in the next 59 seconds, thanks to Dooling — a former Heat guard. He scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer with 2:02 remaining, cutting the Heat’s lead to three. And when Boston got a stop on the next Miami trip, the Celtics looked for Dooling again.

But Wade stepped in front of a pass intended for Dooling, starting a play where James found Cole for another jumper, and Miami’s cushion was back to 110-105 with 1:31 to play. A half-minute later, Cole struck again to restore the five-point edge, and Miami had the win.

“He’s earned their respect,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even though it’s been a short period of time, about three weeks, because he’s pure, he’s all about the team. He’s mature … and he gets them the ball. You’re always a popular guy when you find people when they’re open.”

Boston was again without forward Paul Pierce (bruised right heel), who worked out both Monday and Tuesday and is getting closer to a return. It won’t come on Wednesday, however — the Celtics have already ruled him out of that game in New Orleans, but there is some hope of Pierce being in the lineup when Boston makes its home debut against Detroit on Friday.

Maybe spurred by the new Eastern Conference championship banner hanging from the rafters, Miami came out flying.

A short bank shot by Wade made it 26-15 at barely the midpoint of the first quarter, setting the tone for an offensive bonanza the likes of which Boston typically doesn’t allow. After a late flurry — James setting up Wade for a lob, Wade missing at the rim but James trailing for a tip-in being perhaps the most impressive of Miami’s highlight reel to close the second quarter — the Heat took a 69-54 lead into the locker room.

That represented the most first-half points allowed by the Celtics since Feb. 8, 2005, according to STATS LLC.

Six straight points by James made it 85-65 midway through the third, and Miami was well on its way to a blowout. But then everything changed — Boston went to a zone, and Miami’s offense stopped in its tracks.

Feasting on Miami’s second unit, with James being the only starter on the floor, the Celtics closed the third on an 18-6 run to make it 91-83 entering the fourth. The Heat missed their last eight shots of the quarter — after having missed 14, total, in the first 32 minutes of the game.

Boston never got the lead down the stretch, though, thanks to Cole.

“We have confidence in whoever’s on the floor at that time,” James said. “For him to make those shots and come up big in a game like that, give credit to him.”

NOTES: After two games, the Heat have 131 points in first halves this season. After three games last season, Miami had 130 first-half points. … Celtics F Chris Wilcox didn’t play in the second half because of a bruised left shoulder. X-rays were negative. … The Heat said the luster of the matchup wasn’t hurt by Pierce not being available. “We play the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back,” Wade said. … Celebrity sightings included Miami Dolphins RB Reggie Bush, rapper Rick Ross and retired tennis star Boris Becker.

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