It was the seventh career playoff triple-double for Rondo, who missed Game 2 because he was suspended for bumping a referee in the closing minutes of the series opener. Game 4 is Sunday night.
Ray Allen returned for Boston after missing almost a month and scored 13 points in 38 minutes. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Pierce had 21 points one game after having 36 points and 14 rebounds to help the Celtics swipe home-court advantage with a Game 2 victory in Atlanta.
Joe Johnson scored 29 points and Jeff Teague had 23 for the Hawks. Tracy McGrady had 12 points – his highest total since he had 40 for Houston in 2008 – but 10 were in the first half, before he landed awkwardly on his right ankle and went to the locker room.
Rondo scored Boston’s first two baskets of the overtime – the second by posting up Teague and knocking down a baby hook over him.
Boston never trailed from there. The Celtics went on an 11-1 run to open a double-digit lead with 7 minutes to play in regulation, but Atlanta rallied and tied it 80-80 on Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Both teams failed to score on its next two possessions, leaving the Celtics with the ball out of bounds with 3.9 seconds left.
Rondo inbounded to Pierce, who was defended by Johnson and had to take a long, fallaway jumper that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
The Celtics got Rondo back from his one-game suspension and Allen back on the court for the first time since April 10. He played just five games over the final month of the regular season because of bone spurs in his right ankle and missed the first two games of the playoffs.