Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, and J.R. Smith added 19 as the New York Knicks opened a 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in their first-round playoff series with an 87-71 victory on Tuesday.
In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and LeBron James finished with 19 as the Heat took off in the fourth quarter to down the Milwaukee Bucks and take a 2-0 lead in their series. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry had 30 points and 13 assists as the Golden State Warriors handed the Denver Nuggets their first loss at home in more than three months to level their playoff 1-1.
Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who moved halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semi-finals. It is their first 2-0 lead since sweeping Toronto in the first round that year.
Paul Pierce scored 18 points for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 tomorrow in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.
Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but battled foul trouble for Boston.
Anthony followed his 36-point opener by making eight of 13 shots in the second half to finish 11 of 24 for the game.
Trailing the visitors 48-42 at intermission, the Knicks outscored Boston 32-11 in the third quarter and limited them to 12 points in the fourth.
“It’s about making adjustments at halftime,” said New York’s Kenyon Martin, who hauled down a team-leading 11 rebounds.
“Just being extra aggressive, coming out and playing a lot harder than we did in the first half. We were not helping one another. Same as in Game 1,” he said.
In the opening game, the Celtics held a seven-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter before New York began to claw back and then put a defensive stranglehold on them to allow just eight points in the fourth quarter of an 85-78 victory.
Guard Felton said the Knicks knew what they had to do when they came out for the third quarter on Tuesday.
“I think we were aggressive defensively, staying into our man and playing great help defense,” said Felton, who helped ignite the New York attack with seven rebounds and 16 points, many on assertive drives to the hoop.
“I think everyone knew what they had to do to get the lead, keep the lead and try to win the game,” he said.
Miami’s Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen all scored 10 points for the Heat, who scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter, needing just over two minutes to blow open what had been a three-point game.
Game 3 is today in Milwaukee.
Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points for Milwaukee, who got 16 from Mike Dunleavy and 14 from Larry Sanders. The Bucks’ starting guards, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, combined for only 15 points after scoring 48 in Game 1.
In Denver, Colorado, Jarrett Jack added 26 points, Harrison Barnes 24 and Klay Thompson 21 as the sixth-seeded Warriors wrested homecourt advantage from the NBA’s best home team as the series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 tomorrow.
The third-seeded Nuggets were an NBA-best 38-3 at home during the regular season and extended their franchise-best winning streak to 24 games with the Game 1 win.
The Warriors became the second road team to win the postseason following Chicago’s win at Brooklyn on Monday.
Even without injured All-Star forward David Lee, the Warriors outrebounded the Nuggets 36-26 and shot 64.6 percent.
Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer both scored 19 points for Denver.