Heat beat Celtics for 2-0 lead


LeBron James scored 24 of his 35 points in the second half Tuesday as Miami’s star trio poured in a total of 80 points in a 102-91 victory over Boston in their NBA Eastern Conference semi-final series. Dwyane Wade added 28 points and Chris Bosh chipped in 17 with 11 rebounds as the Heat stretched their lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-0.
A 14-0 scoring run saw Miami turn back a determined Celtics team who had tied the contest at 80-80 with little more than seven minutes remaining when Paul Pierce sank two free throws. Boston missed their next six shots and the Heat pulled away. Rajon Rondo scored 20 points and added 12 assists for the Celtics, who host game three on Saturday. Kevin Garnett scored 16 points and Pierce added 13 for the Celtics, who have rallied from a 0-2 hole in a best-of-seven series only once before.
Ray Allen scored only seven points and departed with a bruised chest after he was elbowed by James in the third period. For the current Celtics squad, a 0-2 deficit is uncharted territory, although they showed they can challenge the star-studded Heat with a 13-6 fourth-quarter scoring run that tied the game at 80-80. Miami responded with their own surge, including a three-point play by James, who was fouled on a dunk and made his free throw to put the Heat ahead 88-80 with less than six minutes remaining.
The Heat, who lost to Boston in last season’s first round and lost three of four games to the Celtics in the regular season, are now two victories away from reaching the Eastern Conference finals. There they would face either Atlanta or Chicago for a chance to play a team from the West for the NBA crown. Thunder beat Grizzlies: Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Oklahoma City’s reserves provided plenty of scoring support Tuesday as the Thunder beat Memphis 111-102 to level their NBA Western Conference second-round series.
Russell Westbrook added 24 points and his backup, Eric Maynor, chipped in 15 as the Thunder knotted the best-of-seven series at one game apiece. James Harden scored 21 points off the bench for the Thunder, who were surprised at home by the Grizzlies in game one and now face the next two games in Memphis, starting with game three on Saturday. Maynor’s three three-pointers and seven points from Harden helped the Thunder take control early in the fourth quarter.
When the two left the game and Durant and Westbrook returned with less than five minutes to play, they received a standing ovation. The Thunder reserves out-scored those of Memphis 48-29. Memphis tried to rally as Mike Conley, who scored 24 points, hit two three-pointers and converted a three-point play. Tony Allen made two free throws to get the Grizzlies within 104-98 with less than a minute remaining, but they could get no closer.