NBA: Celtics climb back into series with win over Heat

The Boston Celtics, buoyed by a return to their home floor, jumped to a big lead and held on to beat Miami 101-91 on Friday to narrow the gap on the Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Kevin Garnett scored 24 points with 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce added 23 and Rajon Rondo chipped in with 21 as the Celtics narrowed the gap in the best-of-seven series to 2-1 after dropping the first two games in Miami.

The winners of the series advance to the NBA Finals, where they will battle either San Antonio or Oklahoma City for the league championship.

Rondo, whose career-high 44 points on Wednesday couldn't prevent an over-time loss, also added 10 assists and six rebounds in another sparkling performance.

He scored eight points in the fourth quarter, helping beat back a Heat rally. Miami had erased a 24-point final-period deficit and pulled within eight points with less than two minutes remaining when Rondo's layup stretched Boston's lead to 99-89.

NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James had 34 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Miami, who got 18 points from Dwyane Wade.

"This is a championship team," James said of Boston. "They have a lot of guys that won championship rings. They got a lot of pride. We know we're not going to be able to just walk on top of them."

Game four is on Sunday in Boston.