LeBron James scored 26 and Dwyane Wade scored 24, but it was unheralded rookie out of Cleveland State who took control of the game late for the Miami Heat on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics. Norris Cole, the 28th overall pick of the 2011 draft, scored 14 of his 20 points in the final quarter, helping the Heat beat the Celtics, 115-107.
The Celtics, still without the injured Paul Pierce, were led by 28 points from Ray Allen, who shot 6-8 from three-point range. Rajon Rondo added 22 points and 12 assists. Keyon Dooling added 18 points in nearly 24 minutes off the bench.
Boston trailed by as many as 20 points before rallying in the second half. Trailing 108-98 with three minutes left, Dooling scored seven straight points for the Celtics -- but Cole calmly responded with a jumper to end Boston's run. The Celtics again cut the lead to three in the final minutes, but again, Cole came through with a jumper. The rookie finished the game shooting 8-16, including 4-6 from the line.
Cole finished the game with 29 minutes -- 10 minutes more than starter Mario Chalmers. After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra explained that he was merely riding the hot hand.
"It wasn't any kind of indictment on [Chalmers]," Spoelstra said, according to the Miami Herald. "He came back after struggling at the beginning of the third quarter and he did settle down and make some plays. That was good, to see him show some resolve and some toughness. That's what we've done a lot of times. If a lineup is going, if a player is playing well, I won't necessarily change for the sake of changing.''
Wade added eight assists and four blocked shots, while James dished five assists with six boards. Chris Bosh notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards.
Pierce has yet to play this season due to a lingering heel injury. Doc Rivers said before Tuesday's game that Pierce will likely miss Wednesday's game in New Orleans against Hornets before possibly returning for Friday's home game against the Detroit Pistons. The Heat also play on Wednesday, traveling to Charlotte to face the Bobcats.