MIAMI -- It's that time of year, where little aches and pains are starting to add up for Dwyane Wade. Sore knee, stiff ankle, that sort of thing.
He tried to say it was a problem Wednesday.
"I was only able to get 32," Wade said, unable to hold in a laugh -- knowing those 32 points were good enough for the Miami Heat.
Wade continued his post-All-Star offensive tear, hitting the game-sealing 3-pointer with 34 seconds left, and the Heat held on to beat the injury-depleted Boston Celtics 107-99.
Boston trailed 91-76 with 9:04 left, cut the deficit to one with a 16-2 run over the next 4:10, but Wade was simply too much in the final minutes. He scored five straight Miami points to slow the Celtics' rally, and the Heat never lost the lead.
"It's a gutsy win for us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
And a costly loss for the defending NBA champions, who fell two games behind Cleveland in the race for the Eastern Conference's best record.
Ray Allen hit his first six shots and finished with 27 for Boston, but only three of those came after halftime -- as he missed six of his final seven shots. Leon Powe had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who got 16 points from Paul Pierce.
"When you get down that far and you are fighting back, it's tough to win games, especially on the road," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Boston led 55-50 at the half, then got outscored 32-18 in the third quarter.
"There is no excuse," Pierce said. "We had our opportunities. We had the lead at halftime and had a bad quarter in the third quarter. We dug ourselves a hole. We have to understand that we're a defensive team first and that's how we win games."
They could have used a little help.
"Boston's still one of the one or two top teams in the East," Heat guard Mario Chalmers said. "Any time you get a win over a team like that, whether they've got all their big weapons or not, you take the win."
Kendrick Perkins had 13 and Eddie House scored 12 for Boston. Stephon Marbury was 0-for-6 in 23 minutes, not scoring a single point. Udonis Haslem finished with 10 points for Miami, as did Chalmers and Daequan Cook.
The Heat (35-29) tied a season best by moving six games over .500, and beat Boston for the first time in seven meetings.
Until the final minutes, and by his own standards lately, Wade was having a relatively tame night.
In his first 11 games since the All-Star break, the NBA's leading scorer was averaging 36.5 points and 10.8 assists, including the 48-point outburst against Chicago on Monday night -- a game where he hit a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Heat a victory.
Wade broke his own franchise record by reaching double digits in scoring for the 79th straight game, and tied another team mark with his 20th straight game scoring at least 20 points.
And in the end, he pulled off more theatrics in this one, including swishing the 3-pointer over Allen's outstretched arm for the game-clincher.
"We have to protect home court," Wade said, "by any means necessary."
Miami scored the first 11 points of the third quarter. Moon scored the final five points of that quick spurt, first with a 3-pointer and then an alley-oop slam off a high-arcing pass from Wade.
The lead changed hands five times in the third quarter, before Miami used a 16-4 run to get some separation. Cook hit a pair of 3-pointers a minute apart for an 82-71 lead, and the Heat settled for a nine-point cushion going into the fourth.
Including Wade, five of the six all-time leading Miami scorers -- Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway and Eddie Jones -- were in the arena. ... Several NFL players were in the stands, including Edgerrin James, Channing Crowder and Jeremy Shockey. ... Celtics forward Mikki Moore pulled off something not seen often: He committed four fouls in the first quarter, and didn't even start the game. Moore needed only 7 1/2 minutes for the contact spree.
Isaiah Thomas says his pitch to free-agent-to-be Kevin Durant would be about the tradition of the Celtics and the great fans in Boston.
If LeBron James wants his now customary one-year contract plus a player option with the Cavaliers he stands to leave $3 million on the table compared to the one-year deal he could get elsewhere.
Marc Spears speaks with Chris Washburn, who was drafted third overall in the 1986 NBA Draft, about how drug addiction cost him almost everything, including his life.