WALTHAM, Mass. – You guard Miami’s Dwyane Wade too closely and he drives to the basket. Give him some room and he sinks a 3-pointer.

What are the Boston Celtics to do?

“It’s a tricky situation,” Ray Allen said.

Allen has the unenviable task of being the Celtic assigned to defend Wade most of the time — his next chance comes tonight in Game 5 — although Allen’s teammates are supposed to help. None of them did well enough on Sunday.

Wade raced in for layups and soared high for long-range jumpers. His 46 points, a franchise playoff record, helped keep the Heat’s season alive. They won 101-92 at home, cutting the Celtics lead to 3-1 and forcing the best-of-seven series back to Boston.

“We’re not easy opponents,” Wade said. “They’re going to make some runs. We’ve got to … be tough and not say ‘Well, guys, it’s been a good year.’ “

That’s just what Paul Pierce would like to hear from the Heat. His jumper at the buzzer gave the Celtics a 100-98 win in Game 3, setting up the possibility of a sweep.

That didn’t happen and now he’s eager to wrap the series up in front of his home fans.

“There’s a lot of urgency,” Pierce said. “Next time I go to Miami, hopefully I’ll be on vacation.”

First he and his teammates have a tough work day. And it’s not just Wade who causes trouble. On Sunday, Quentin Richardson scored 20 points, Udonis Haslem grabbed 11 rebounds and Michael Beasley converted a key late offensive rebound.

“Wade is going to have the ball most of the time,” Pierce said. “You’ve got to expect him to have big numbers because of that, but it’s the other guys that we have to shut down and I’m a big part of that when I’m the guy guarding Quentin Richardson.”

A win by Miami would send the series back there for a sixth game on Thursday night.

The Celtics spent about an hour watching film on Monday, a session Coach Doc Rivers thought would take 20 minutes. Then they practiced for about an hour.

Rivers doesn’t expect major adjustments in the Celtics defense. He does want them to play it more intensely.

“Dwyane Wade’s a great player. Give him that. But we’re going to defend him and it’s going to be tough,” Rivers said. “If I can find a guy in the league that can just keep Dwyane Wade in front of him whenever he wants to, we’re signing him.”

Wade has increased his scoring in each game from 26 to 29 to 34 to 46. He’s hit 52 of his 86 shots (60.5 percent) and 13 of 30 of his 3-pointers (43.3 percent). He was at his most accurate on Sunday, hitting 16 of 24 shots and five of seven 3-pointers.

“Shooting 67 percent is the bigger number for us,” Rivers said. “The 46 we could live with if it was 25 percent.”


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