After losing to the Lakers on Ray Allen's historic night on Thursday, the Boston Celtics recovered by defeating the Miami Heat, perhaps their most formidable competitors for the Eastern Conference crown, 85-82, on Sunday afternoon.

The Celtics almost let a big lead slip away. The Heat cut into a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and trailed 83-81 with 19 seconds remaining.

Mike Miller's three-pointer to tie the game was off the mark, and Boston took home the important victory.

Miami's big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh took care of nearly all of the scoring in the fourth quarter, and held Boston to only 11 fourth-quarter points.

The Celtics were able to be victorious despite a miserable performance from star small forward Paul Pierce who was 0-for-10 from the field. Pierce will have an MRI on his sore left foot on Monday.

The win vaults Boston ahead of Miami in the Eastern Conference standings, and provides some momentum for a four-game Western Conference swing that follows a home game against the struggling New Jersey Nets on Wednesday.