Mario Chalmers scored 22 for the Heat, who rallied from 15 down to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals despite an unbelievable night by Rajon Rondo. The Celtics guard played all 53 minutes and scored 44 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds.
Paul Pierce scored 21 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and Ray Allen 13 for Boston.
Allen’s 3-pointer with 34.3 seconds left tied the game at 99-all. James missed two shots, first a layup – he got the rebound of his own miss – and then a jumper on the final possession of regulation, and to overtime they went.
The Heat had come back from 14 points down in playoff games twice before, first in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Finals – their title clincher – and again last season against Philadelphia.
Game 3 is Friday.
SPURS-THUNDER: Gregg Popovich implored his San Antonio team to get nasty to take control of the Western Conference Finals.
The Oklahoma City Thunder might just have to get ugly if they hope to make it a series. The Thunder have struggled to corral a San Antonio offense that is clicking on all cylinders during a 20-game winning streak, the longest any NBA team has been able to maintain into the playoffs.
Oklahoma City is in an 0-2 hole as the series shifts to the Chesapeake Energy Arena for Game 3 tonight. Maybe – just maybe – the Thunder found something that works while trying to rally from a 22-point, third-quarter deficit in Game 2.
They toughened up, turned it into a more physical contest and the NBA’s best free-throw shooting team had both teams marching to the foul line as the lead shrank to six. The Spurs were able to close out a 120-111 victory.
“We’re a physical team. We have to play that way,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Wednesday. “If we play free-flowing basketball, we can beat some teams but we’re not at our best if we’re not being physical on the defensive end.”
So far, the Spurs have been at their best more than the Thunder, cranking it up for 39 fourth-quarter points in a come-from-behind Game 1 victory and then shooting 63 percent from the field and 64 percent from 3-point range while building their biggest lead in Game 2.
That had Brooks in a rare position, questioning whether his team was playing its hardest and specifically noting that defense on 3-point attempts wasn’t good enough.
“We have to play with maximum effort every possession and the entire possession. If you don’t do that, you give them so many open They don’t hesitate. They make the plays for each other and they make them consistently and they make them quickly and on time. With that being said, you can have great defense and they still make some tough shots.”