Three Game 2s earlier tonight!
#4 BOSTON CELTICS 87 @ #5 ATLANTA HAWKS 80
EAST 1st Round * Game 2 * Series is tied, 1-1
The Hawks seemed comfortable in the game. Jeff Teague and Josh Smith were putting on a show for Atlanta. They were up as many as 11 points in the third quarter.
Then the Boston defense tightened up as the Hawks stopped moving the ball around. The Celtics chipped away and then Paul Pierce willed the Celtics. Pierce scored nine points in the last four minutes as Boston crushed the Hawks in the fourth. It didn't help that Josh Smith left the game with a sprained knee with 4:20 left (the joke writes itself, I suppose).
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Pierce finished with a fantastic 36 points and 14 boards. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 22 points. Teague had 18 and Smith finished with 16 and 12. As Rajon Rondo was suspended for this game, it was absolutely huge for Boston to win this game in Atlanta. Now they will have him back for Game 3.
#8 PHILADELPHIA 76ers 109 @ #1 CHICAGO BULLS 92
EAST 1st Round * Game 2 * Series tied, 1-1
Joakim Noah was busting out the FINGAGUNZ. He made all seven of his shots (ended up being 10/11 for the game) in the first half. The Bulls, without Derrick Rose (who presented the game ball to the official pre-game), led the Sixers, 55-47.
Then the Sixers had their best quarter of the season as they annihiliated the Bulls in the third quarter, 36-14. Everything went right for Phillie and everything went wrong for Chicago. That pretty much decided the game as the Bulls couldn't get any offense going. Chicago clearly missed Rose in this game.
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Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 26 points while Noah finished the game with 21. Philly now has home court.
#6 DENVER NUGGETS 100 @ #3 LOS ANGELES LAKERS 104
WEST 1st Round * Game 2 * Lakers lead series, 2-0
The Lakers showed early why they're a bad match-up for Denver. Lakers overwhelmed the Nuggets with their size. But then, the Nuggets started outhustling the Lakers. They grabbed 13 offensive boards in the first half.
L.A. came out firing on all cylinders as they blasted out of the 3rd quarter gate with a 16-4 run. Though the Nuggets chipped into the lead, guys like Jordan Hill was neutraling the Nuggets' hustle. Hill ended up with 10 rebounds. Still, Denver made a game out of it. Lakers were leading, 95-91, when Ty Lawson (25 points) missed a 3 (it went in and out). Helter skelter ensued and Andrew Bynum (27 points) essentially put it away with a dunk. All-in-all, the Lakers kinda stepped off the gas. This is just a really bad match for the Nuggets.
The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant with 38 points.
Three games on the agenda tomorrow! Keep it tuned in at TNLP.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.
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