James turns the heat on Celtics


BOSTON, USA, May 10- LeBron James scored 35 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Miami to a 98-90 overtime victory that put the Boston Celtics on the edge of elimination in the NBA playoffs.

Dwyane Wade scored 28 with nine rebounds and Chris Bosh had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who took a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.

The Heat host game five on Wednesday and can eliminate the defending Eastern Conference champions with a victory.

The Celtics know how difficult a task they face. Only eight times has a team come back to win a series after trailing 3-1.

"In our minds there’s a lot of basketball to be played," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It’s going to be extremely hard. And if we’re not up for it, we’ll lose."

The winner of the series will play either Chicago or Atlanta in the Eastern Conference finals for a chance to face a team from the West for the NBA crown.

That series is tied 2-2, with Chicago hosting game five on Tuesday.

The Heat’s "Big Three" of James, Wade and Bosh lived up to their billing, scoring 83 of the Heat’s 98 points with 35 of 45 rebounds.

The three had combined for just 44 points as Miami lost the previous contest in Boston after winning the first two games of the series at home.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who has had the task of melding the three big talents into a team this season after James and Bosh decided to join fellow free agent Wade in Miami to pursue an NBA title, said the strong finish showed what the Heat had been working toward during a sometimes frustrating regular season.

"We’ve been through a lot of pain and heartache to get to a point where we feel confident at the end of games," Spoelstra said, but added that he expected the Celtics to come back strong.

"Wednesday night will be our greatest challenge that we’ve had with this group so far," Spoelstra said. "We’ll get their best games on Wednesday. And we have to be better.

"If we’re real about what we want to do, we have to beat the Boston Celtics at their best."

James atoned for a turnover in the last minute of regulation with a jump shot to start overtime that gave the Heat the lead for good.

Boston scored just four points in overtime, when they made four of their 18 turnovers.

Paul Pierce scored 27, Ray Allen had 17 and Kevin Garnett had seven points and 10 rebounds for Boston.

Rajon Rondo, who dislocated his left elbow Saturday, played 39 minutes wearing a padded sleeve on his injured arm. He scored 10 points and handed out five assists.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Delonte West and Allen gave the Celtics an 84-81 lead with 2:28 to play.

James drained a three-pointer to tie the score, then added a layup with 48 seconds remaining to put Miami up 86-84.

Pierce drove for a basket to tie it up at 86-86, then James lost control of the ball.

Allen went for the go-ahead basket and was bumped by James Jones. That gave Boston the ball with 19.5 seconds to play.

Pierce got the ball, let the clock tick down then saw his attempt bounce off the rim to send it into overtime.

"We just had poor execution down the stretch," Pierce said. "It just carried into overtime, it seemed like. We feel like tonight we beat ourselves."