So Wade went to work, scoring five straight points for the Heat, setting Jermaine O'Neal up for four others, and Miami ultimately escaped.
Jamario Moon scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Miami, which stayed 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. O'Neal scored 12 for the Heat.
Ray Allen hit his first six shots and finished with 27 for Boston, which fell two games behind Cleveland for the East's best record. But Allen missed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left, Mario Chalmers grabbed the rebound and the Celtics let time expire.
Leon Powe had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who have lost two straight.
The Celtics were without five injured players, including Kevin Garnett (who missed his ninth game with a sprained right knee) and point guard Rajon Rondo (sprained right ankle).
They could have used a little help.
Paul Pierce scored 16 points, Kendrick Perkins had 13 and House scored 12. 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.
A 15-1 run by Boston in the final quarter got the Celtics within one, but the defending champs didn't get the lead in the period. Miami set the tone by outscoring Boston 32-18 in the third quarter.
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.
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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.
Down 55-50 at the half, 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.
Notes: 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.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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