The AP reports:

LeBron James better make sure his new MVP trophy isn’t missing. The Boston Celtics stole everything else.

Rondo has 19 assists, Celtics tie series with Cavs

Rajon Rondo tied a team playoff record with 19 assists, Ray Allen scored 22 points and the Celtics, playing with renewed confidence and looking very dangerous despite their years, opened a 25-point lead in the fourth and then survived Cleveland’s comeback for a 104-86 victory on Monday night to even their semifinal series at 1-1.

After blowing an 11-point lead in the third quarter of Game 1, the Celtics almost squandered a much bigger one. They led 91-66 with 9:08 left before the Cavaliers, who have been outplayed in both games, scored 15 straight and pulled within 93-83 on James’ basket with 3:13 left.

Boston, though, closed with an 11-3 spurt and then packed up and headed home for Friday’s Game 3 thinking it can oust the Cavs…

James, who seemed to be favoring his injured right elbow, scored 24 and Jamison 16 for Cleveland, outscored 31-12 in the third…

The Celtics seemed in control with their 25-point bulge, but they got complacent and found themselves having to scramble down the stretch when they could have been resting their starters. Boston went nearly six minutes without scoring. notes:

Boston shot 51.3%, Cleveland just 40.0%. And while Boston nailed an impressive 9-of-19 three-pointers, Cleveland hit a miserable 4-of-21. Cleveland had 38 free throw attempts but only connected on 26 of them, while Boston hit 15-of-18.  Boston had 11 more rebounds, and won the assists category 30-17.

Boston had six players score double-digits. Ray Allen scored 19. Kevin Garnett (just 8-of-21) had 18 points, 10 rebounds and not much else. Rasheed Wallace was in the zone off the bench, hitting 7-of-8 (3-of-4 threes) for 17 points in 18 minutes. Paul Pierce had just 14 points and not a lot else. Rondo had 13 points and 19 assists (6 turnovers). Kendrick Perkins (5-of-6) had 10 with nine rebounds.

For Cleveland, LeBron had 24, seven rebounds, three steals but more turnovers than assists. Antawn Jamison scored 16. JJ Hickson had 13 off the bench. No one else reached double-digit points. Starting guards Mo Williams (1-of-9) and Anthony Parker (2-of-7) couldn’t hit shots today.