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Heat 105, Celtics 103

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BOSTON -- Using a dramatic comeback in the final eight minutes Monday night, the Miami Heat stand alone with the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Down by 13 points with eight minutes left, the Heat rode LeBron James to their 23rd straight victory, stunning the Boston Celtics, who almost pulled off the win even though they didn't have Kevin Garnett, 105-103.

James scored 13 of his team's final 22 points and hit a jumper with 10.5 seconds left to put Miami in front. Shane Battier then blocked a drive by Jeff Green, who had a career-high 43 points, out of bounds with seven seconds left. Boston's Paul Pierce missed a fall-away 3-pointer from the right corner. Miami's Dwyane Wade grabbed the rebound and the comeback was complete.

Exactly five years earlier, the Celtics ended Houston's 22-game streak and they almost did the same thing to the Heat. But Boston scored just seven points in the final 8:26 of the game.

James, who has been on fire during this streak, finished with 37 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. Mario Chalmers had 21 points and Wade contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Green, getting his second straight start, this time with Kevin Garnett sick, didn't score for the final 9:06. Pierce finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

The loss ended Boston's 11-game home winning streak and gave the Heat their first win in 11 regular-season games in Boston. Miami did win Game 6 of last year's Eastern Conference finals.

Green had 26 points and six rebounds in the first half and didn't stop there. He topped his previous career high of 37 (Dec. 1, 2010, at Brooklyn, with Oklahoma City) with a 3-pointer with 46.4 seconds left in the third quarter. He was 14 of 21 from the floor and 5 of 7 from 3-point range, where his team was 10 of 21 for the game.

Boston turned the ball over 21 times, which didn't help.

The loss dropped the Celtics to 16-7 since losing Rajon Rondo for the season and allowed Ray Allen to escape with a win in his second game back. Lustily booed all night, Allen scored six points and was 0 of 3 from 3-point range in just over 30 minutes.

Green led the Celtics through a 17-0 run in the final 4:28 of the first quarter. He scored eight points in a row, then set up a Pierce 3-pointer and scored again. The quarter ended with Boston up 12 points and that lead moved to 41-24 with 9:13 left in the second quarter.

The Heat were down 14 when an 8-0 run got the NBA champs back into it. Miami was down six at the half and started the third quarter with eight points in the first 2:09 to retake the lead.

The Celtics ran off seven straight points to take a 73-65 lead, but the Heat answered with seven before Green hit his second straight 3-point play. He then stole the ball and was fouled, hitting two free throws with the crowd chanting his name.

Green's 5-0 run made it 78-72 and the lead was four entering the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Garnett sat out his third game of the season. He missed the shootaround Monday morning, but official word didn't come until before game time that he wouldn't play. The news that he was sick and not hurt was a surprise. "He's sick, really. It's not the injury," coach Doc Rivers said. "He just has a terrible flu or whatever and, with the injury, we just felt the combination ... it was too much to play." Rivers said Garnett would have played had he not been sick. ... The Celtics begin a three-game road trip in New Orleans on Wednesday night, and the Heat are at Cleveland. Garnett was expected on the team flight Tuesday. ... Miami's winning streak started at Toronto on Feb. 3 and win No. 22 was also at Toronto this past Sunday. ... James came in with 32 double-doubles, already a career high. He had registered 31 in three different seasons. ... Allen help put Toronto away with fourth-quarter 3-pointers Sunday, giving Miami coach Erik Spoelstra a scary flashback. "Those 3s by Ray, that's why we came up with the term for so many years when he was in Boston, 'Oh, blank'?" Spoelstra said, cleaning up the actual term. "Those are what we feared for so many years because it can turn a game around just like that with three or four 3s in a row."
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