76ers beat Bulls; Celtics even series
CHICAGO (AP) — Jrue Holiday scored 26 points, Lou Williams added 20 and Philadelphia beat Chicago 109-92 on Tuesday night to even their first-round series in the Bulls’ first game since Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury.
The point guard received a standing ovation and waved to the crowd as he limped onto the court to present the game ball, then watched from a suite as the 76ers outscored Chicago 36-14 in the third quarter to take an 83-69 lead.
Holiday was 11 of 15 from the field, and the Sixers shot 59 percent overall. Evan Turner chipped in with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds and John Lucas III scored 15 points.
Rose missed 27 games during the regular season because of a variety of injuries, and the Bulls went 18-9 in those games.
CELTICS 87, HAWKS 80
ATLANTA (AP) — Paul Pierce had 36 points and 14 rebounds and Boston wiped out Atlanta’s 11-point lead in the second half even without point guard Rajon Rondo.
The series is tied 1-1. Game 3 is Friday night in Boston, and Rondo will be back for that one having sat out a one-game suspension for bumping an official in the opener.
The Hawks took a 65-54 lead late in the third quarter. But Boston sliced it to 66-61 by the end of the period. Pierce hit his first 3-pointer of the series after missing 10 to stretch the lead to 79-72 with 3 1/2 minutes left.
Pierce finished 12 of 26 from the field and dropped to his knee and Tebowed after a free throw that locked it up with just a minute to go.
Kevin Garnett had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Boston.
Joe Johnson had 22 points for Atlanta.
L.A. Lakers 104, Nuggets 100
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 38 points, Andrew Bynum followed up his playoff-opening triple-double with 27 points and nine rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers weathered Denver’s late rally for a 104-100 victory over the Nuggets on Tuesday night, taking a 2-0 series lead.
Pau Gasol had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the third-seeded Lakers, who still haven’t trailed in this series despite nearly crumbling against a much-improved effort by the Nuggets and Ty Lawson, who scored 25 points and led the fourth-quarter charge.
Los Angeles’ 19-point lead in the third quarter dwindled to four with 3 minutes to play, but Ramon Sessions scored four key points in the final 1:14 before Bryant’s icing free throws with 9.4 seconds left.
Game 3 is Friday in Denver.