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Celtics take 3-2 lead as Heat’s title hopes look like empty promises


The Celtics stole a 94-90 win in Game 5 on Tuesday and a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals, just six days after they’d fallen 0-2 in overtime while Pierce watched from the bench after fouling out. Miami must now win Game 6 on Thursday in Boston. Anyone who has been paying attention to the last four games will realize how difficult that’s going to be.
Afterward Dwyane Wade would roll his eyes and laugh sardonically over the bad luck that followed the two-handed dunk attempt by Boston’s Brandon Bass that Wade blocked midway into the fourth. The ball caromed high and was tapped by Rajon Rondo out to Mickael Pietrus in the corner, and, in fact, there was nothing lucky about that play. “Rondo not only saved it,” said Rivers, “but he saved it toward one of our shooters.”
The loose balls were there for Miami to seize, and yet they surrendered to the older, thinner team, with a bench made up of leftover players like Pietrus, who sank that three-pointer from the corner tapped out to him by Rondo and in so doing slashed Miami’s lead down to 78-75 with 6:01 left. Pietrus, who was waived in December by Phoenix and will need knee surgery this summer, went 5-of-8 from the floor (including a couple of threes) while his defense helped prevent LeBron James (30 points on 25 shots) and Wade (27 on 22 shots) from dominating the game. The case can be made that no one in a Miami uniform helped James and Wade as much as Pietrus helped the Celtics. For Miami it was the two of them going one-on-one while no one else could manage double-figures.

Ian Thomsen

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