NBA playoff scores: Knicks, Heat go up 2-0; Warriors even series with Nuggets

Al Bello

The Knicks and Heat took commanding leads in their best-of-seven series, while the Warriors exploded offensively without David Lee against the Nuggets.

Knicks 87, Celtics 71

For the second-straight game, the New York Knicks trailed at halftime against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. And for the second-straight game, the Knicks' defense clamped down big time in the second half.

After holding the Celtics to just 25 second-half points in an 85-78 Game 1 victory, the Knicks did even better in Game 2, allowing just 23 second-half points in an 87-71 blowout win to go up 2-0 in the series.

New York ran out to a six-point lead after the first quarter, but they went into the half down six after a poor second quarter. The Knicks then took over, outscoring the Celtics 32-11 in the third quarter to take control. Carmelo Anthony scored 13 of his 34 points in the third.

Off the bench, recently crowned Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith had 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Raymond Felton was the only other Knick in double figures with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 18 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but there was very little help. Boston shot only 37.1 percent for the game and 19.4 percent in the second half.

Heat 98, Bucks 86

The Miami Heat led by just three heading into the fourth quarter of Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Heat pulled away to win, 98-86, and go up 2-0 in the series.

Miami used a 12-0 run to start the fourth to create separation and end all doubt of the outcome. Norris Cole and Chris Andersen were huge during the run, each scoring five points during the spurt with LeBron James getting the other basket. James was a mere mortal in the win, finishing with "only" 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Miami's offense did struggle a bit from the field, shooting an uncharacteristic 44.9 percent overall and 6-of-19 from three. But the Heat grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and also scored 12 more points at the free throw line.

Ersan Ilyasova got off to a really hot start and finished the game with 21 points. Mike Dunleavy came off the bench to score 16 points while also grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. The Bucks shot 50.0 percent for the game, but only went 4-of-18 from downtown and 10-of-17 from the charity stripe.

Warriors 131, Nuggets 117

With David Lee out for the rest of the postseason, Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson decided to employ some small ball in Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets. The strategy worked, with the Warriors exploding offensively in a 131-117 victory to even up the series at 1-1 and end the Nuggets' home winning streak at 24 games.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with a monster game of 30 points and 13 assists. Curry got plenty of support from his teammates, as three of the other four starters scored at least 21 points. Jarrett Jack - who normally comes off the bench but started in the small lineup - had 26 points and seven assists on 10-of-15 shooting. Harrison Barnes shot 9-of-14 and finished with 24 points. And Klay Thompson buried 5-of-6 from deep en route to a 21-point performance.

For the game, Golden State shot a staggering 64.6 percent overall and made 14-of-25 from downtown. It was quite the display from a team that had struggled at times offensively this season when Lee was not on the floor. After falling behind by two after one quarter, the Warriors scored 35 points in each of the last three quarters, outscoring the Nuggets by 16 over the course of that time frame.

The Nuggets themselves had six players in double-figures, with Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer both scoring 19 to lead the way. But it was not nearly enough against the Warriors' offensive onslaught. Kenneth Faried returned from a sprained left ankle but he picked up five fouls in 21 ineffective minutes.

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