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2012 NBA Playoffs
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined for 68 points and the Boston Celtics held off the Miami Heat, 101-91 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference finals series at TD Garden.
The Celtics narrowed their series deficit to 2-1 but not before overcoming a big fourth quarter run from the Heat.
Coming off a tough overtime loss in Game 2, Boston finally solved the Heat offense by forcing them to be a jump shooting throughout the game.
Garnett had another outstanding game, going 10-for-16 from the field for a team-high 24 points and grabbing 11 boards. Pierce also chipped in with 23 points while Rondo had another brilliant all-around effort with 21 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds.
It was another competitive start for the Celtics and the Heat, who again exchanged furious rallies in the first quarter.
LeBron James opened up the game red-hot, scoring 16 of his 34 points in the first period. Meanwhile, the Celtics distributed the ball well and allowed Garnett to dominate the play inside.
Leading by two points, 30-28, at the end of the first half, the Celtics opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run to give them a 39-30 edge at 7:04 mark.
Peirce and Allen finally found their shooting touch later in the period, steering the Celtics to a 55-42 lead at halftime.
The Celtics continued to wreak havoc in the second half with Rondo, Garnett, and Pierce fueling their team's suddenly explosive offense.
Boston's even led by 24 points, 87-63, on a slam by Allen 19 seconds into the final period. However, the Heat kept their heads up and willed them back into game with a 19-4 run to cut the Celtics' lead to single digit, 91-82, with 5:41 minutes left on the clock.
Rondo and Garnett put the Celtics' lead back to 13 points but Heat guard Mario Chalmers scored five straight points to pull them within 8 points, 95-81, with 3:09 minutes remaining in the game.
In the end, the Celtics proved to be the hungrier team as they took Game 3 and put them in position to even the series up in Sunday's Game 4 at TD Garden.
Dwyane Wade scored 18 points and Chalmers added 14 points for the Heat. The Celtics shot .500 on the floor and defeated their opponents in the battle for rebounds, 44-32.
Phil Jackson no longer interested in Magic coaching gig
Phil Jackson has reportedly backed down from his bid to join the Orlando Magic as the Hall of Fame coach may no longer be interested in being on the bench again, a league source disclosed Friday.
Sam Vincent, who played for the Chicago Bulls while Jackson was an assistant coach, reportedly acted as a middle man in the negotiations between the coaching legend and the Orlando Magic.
Vincent said the Magic drew some interest from Jackson but the NBA coaching great withdrew his name in the end to consider other opportunities in the NBA other than coaching.
"It drew some interest from Phil," Vincent told the Sentinel Friday. "But in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity."
Vincent added Jackson seemed not longer motivated to coach again after winning six titles with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackson's presence could have influenced incoming free-agent center Dwight Howard to ink a long-term contract with the Magic.
Aside from Jackson, the Magic are also considering former Bulls star forward Scottie Pippen to be their next head coach.
Big 3 Respond vs Heat; Celtics Narrow Series Deficit to 2-1