MIAMI - Paul Pierce has hit the Miami Heat were it hurts.
Pierce just drained a 22-footer with less than a second on the clock to beat the Heat, 100-98 at American Airlines Arena. The Celtics are now up in their playoff series with Miami, 3-0. Game Four is Sunday.
Pierce led the way all night for Boston with 32 points. Ray Allen added 25. Dwyane Wade was fabulous in defeat, going off for 34 points.
The Celtics used an 11-2 finish to the third quarter to grab a 80-72 lead. The edge grew to 85-76 on a Pierce 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes to play but Miami wasn't ready to go away just yet.
The Heat came back behind Wade and Michael Beasley and took the lead with 3:46 left on two free throws by Dorelle Wright. The Celts hung tough and regained the lead on a Ray Allen trey, 95-94. Pierce then canned a huge three to make it 98-95 but Wright matched that shot a few seconds later to tie the game at 98-98.
Both teams took turns missing threes the rest of the way. Allen and Pierce missed for Boston while Wade missed with 14 seconds left for the Heat.
That gave the ball to the Celtics with 11.7 seconds to play. Pierce calmly waited until the clock was under two seconds and then fired in a 20 footer at the buzzer for the win.