Monday, June 4, 2012

NBA Western Conference finals and Eastern Conference finals are both at 2-2

Celtics beat Heat in OT, tie East finals at 2-2, Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists, and scored the final three points of the Celtics' 93-91 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday night that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.

Getting a huge break when LeBron James fouled out for the first time since joined the Heat, the Celtics recovered after blowing an 18-point lead in regulation and moved two games away from a third trip to the NBA finals in five years.

Garnett added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics, while Paul Pierce scored 23 points before fouling out. Ray Allen finished with 16 points.

James had 29 points and Wade scored 20 after another dismal start for the Heat, who host Game 5 on Tuesday.

In the West, Game 5 is Monday night in San Antonio. Oklahoma City needs at least one road win to advance, and Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Sunday there's no time like the present.

Since James Harden joined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 2009, the Thunder had been 2-8 against San Antonio heading into this series. Now they return to Texas with a chance to hand the Spurs three straight losses for the first time all season.

Spurs players didn't meet with reporters Sunday. Coach Gregg Popovich, back at Spurs headquarters trying to solve his team's first skid since April 9-11, said their attitude hasn't changed from when they were winning 20 straight games.

Also not likely to change much are the defensive looks the Spurs threw at the Thunder in a 109-103 loss on Saturday. That's because, as far as Popovich is concerned, there is little to plan for when three typically unheralded offensive players shoot a combined 22 of 25 for 49 points.

That's what Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison did in Game 4, giving the Thunder a rare dose of balance on a team that leaned on its Big Three for nearly 70 percent of its scoring before this series. Ibaka was especially unstoppable, going 11 for 11 and finishing just one basket shy of the most perfect-shooting playoff game in NBA history.

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