The Boston Celtics thrived despite the absence of Kevin Garnett and took command of their first-round playoff series with an emphatic 106-77 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
In other action, Atlanta opened a 2-0 series lead over Milwaukee, the LA Lakers edged Oklahoma City to also move 2-0 ahead, while Phoenix evened their series against Portland with a big Game 2 win.
In Boston, forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis moved into the starting lineup in place of the suspended Garnett and produced 23 points and eight rebounds to help the Celtics breeze to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Veteran guard Ray Allen added 25 points and made seven three-pointers for Boston, who took a stranglehold on the game in the second quarter when they scored 21 straight points.
The Heat closed within 14 in the third before the Celtics notched another 18 consecutive points to put the contest out of reach.
Dwyane Wade scored 29 for the Heat, who blew a 14-point lead in Saturday’s 85-76 loss in Game 1.
Miami were always behind in the rematch, however, shooting just 38 percent and pulling down only 33 rebounds to Boston’s 50.
“It will be a good test for us,” Boston coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “We can’t focus on what the series is right now. We haven’t been good at that. We have not been.”
LAKERS 95, THUNDER 92
The Los Angeles Lakers lost the lead three times in the fourth quarter before beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-92 to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference playoff series.
Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, carrying the Lakers in the fourth quarter. He was 13 of 15 from the free throw line, but just 12 of 28 from the floor.
Los Angeles’ Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum had six points and 10 boards for the defending champions, who failed to sustain their strong start for the second straight game.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 19, making all eight of his free throws.
The Lakers are 39-1 all-time when winning first two games of a best-of-seven series.
HAWKS 96, BUCKS 86
At Atlanta, Joe Johnson took control in the fourth quarter to finish off a 27-point effort as Atlanta ran away from an outmanned Milwaukee team.
Josh Smith finished one assist shy of a triple-double for the Hawks, who will head to Milwaukee on Saturday with a 2-0 series lead. Its the first time they’ve won the first two in a best-of-seven series since 1970.
Al Horford scored 20 points for Atlanta, snatching down 10 rebounds and blocking three shots.
John Salmons scored 21 points for the Bucks, and Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench for 13 points and 15 rebounds.
SUNS 119, TRAIL BLAZERS 90
At Phoenix, the hosts rediscovered its high-energy style to beat Portland and square the series 1-1.
Jason Richardson scored 29 points and Grant Hill made 10-of-11 shots for 20 for the Suns.
Unlike Game 1, Steve Nash pushed the Suns to their preferred tempo from the start and finished with 13 points and 16 assists.
Amar’e Stoudemire scored 18. None of the Suns’ starters played in the fourth quarter.
Martell Webster led the Blazers with 16 points. Andre Miller was limited to 12. Nicolas Batum also scored 12 before leaving with a right shoulder strain in the third quarter.