Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Late surge puts Heat in command

MIAMI — Everyone in the Heat huddle was bracing for a grind to the finish. On the other end, the sense around the Bucks bench was an upset was there for the taking.

Then Miami landed a swift knockout punch.

Dwyane Wade scored 21, LeBron James finished with 19 and the Heat used a frantic start to the fourth quarter to pull away and beat the Bucks 98-86 in Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference first-round series on Tuesday night.

It was 68-65 entering the fourth. With James and four backups on the court, the Heat needed only 2:22 to outscore Milwaukee 12-0 and stretch the lead to 80-65, ensuring the reigning NBA champions would take a 2-0 series lead into Game 3 on Thursday night.

"We held court," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We protected it for two games. We did what we're supposed to do. And that's it."

Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen scored 10 each for the Heat. James' postseason streaks of 22 games with at least 20 points and 16 straight of at least 25 ended.

None of that mattered.

"We didn't get into our game like we wanted to in that third quarter," James said. "But we went into the fourth with a (three-point) lead, and we were able to jump on them."

Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 for Milwaukee, Mike Dunleavy 16 and Larry Sanders 14. The Bucks' starting guards, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, combined for only 15 points after teaming to score 48 in Game 1.

Knicks clamp down

NEW YORK — The Knicks are halfway to the second round, and the once-mighty Celtics don't seem capable of stopping them.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34, sixth man of the year J.R. Smith added 19 and New York opened a 2-0 lead over Boston with another dominant second half in an 87-71 victory.

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who used a 27-4 run spanning halftime to blow it open and move halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. This is their first 2-0 lead since they swept Toronto in the first round that year.

"I thought in that third quarter we were as good as we've been all year in terms of ball movement and pushing it and making shots," New York coach Mike Woodson said.

Paul Pierce scored 18 for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 on Friday in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.

LATE MONDAY: The host Clippers blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter then got the ball in the hands of All-Star point guard Chris Paul with the score tied and overtime looming.

Paul went to work, fighting off Tony Allen's defense as he tried to drive to the right baseline. Paul got there and put up a one-handed running jumper that went off the glass and through the net with 0.1 seconds to go as Los Angeles beat the Grizzlies 93-91 for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

"That's why they're star players. They step up in the biggest moments," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.

CAVS, BROWN reunite: Mike Brown has agreed in principle to a deal with the Cavaliers to become their coach for a second time, and the hiring could be announced today, the Associated Press reported. Brown went 272-138 and made the playoffs all five of his seasons with the Cavs, teaming with LeBron James on a run to the Finals in 2007, but was fired after the 2010 season.

BOBCATS FIRE DUNLAP: Mike Dunlap is one and done with the Bobcats, who fired the coach after a single season. Charlotte went 21-61 under Dunlap, finishing with the second-worst record in the NBA.

MOST IMPROVED: Pacers forward Paul George was named the NBA's most improved player, receiving 311 points to 146 for Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez.

Heat 98, Bucks 86

MILWAUKEE (86): Mbah a Moute 3-7 0-2 6, Ilyasova 9-14 1-1 21, Sanders 6-7 2-4 14, Jennings 3-15 2-4 8, Ellis 2-7 3-4 7, Udoh 1-1 0-0 2, Redick 1-1 0-0 2, Henson 0-2 0-0 0, Daniels 4-6 0-0 8, Dunleavy 6-9 2-2 16, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Ayon 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 36-72 10-17 86.

MIAMI (98): James 6-14 7-8 19, Haslem 1-3 1-2 3, Bosh 5-11 0-0 10, Chalmers 4-6 0-0 9, Wade 8-14 5-6 21, Allen 2-8 1-1 7, Battier 2-5 4-4 10, Andersen 4-6 2-3 10, Cole 2-7 2-2 7, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-3 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Anthony 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 35-78 22-26 98.

Milwaukee 23 20 22 21— 86

Miami 25 22 21 30— 98

3-Point GoalsMilwaukee 4-18 (Ilyasova 2-3, Dunleavy 2-5, Ellis 0-3, Jennings 0-7), Miami 6-19 (Allen 2-5, Battier 2-5, Chalmers 1-1, Cole 1-2, Bosh 0-1, Miller 0-2, James 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMilwaukee 42 (Sanders, Ilyasova, Dunleavy 6), Miami 48 (James 8). AssistsMilwaukee 23 (Dunleavy, Ellis, Jennings 5), Miami 17 (James 6). Total FoulsMilwaukee 21, Miami 17. TechnicalsMilwaukee defensive three second. A20,097 (19,600).

Knicks 87, Celtics 71

BOSTON (71): Green 3-11 4-6 10, Bass 2-6 2-2 6, Garnett 4-9 4-4 12, Bradley 2-5 2-2 6, Pierce 8-19 1-2 18, Wilcox 0-0 0-0 0, Terry 3-8 0-0 9, Crawford 4-11 1-2 10, Randolph 0-0 0-0 0, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-70 14-18 71.

NEW YORK (87): Shumpert 2-6 0-0 6, Anthony 11-24 10-11 34, Chandler 1-4 1-1 3, Prigioni 0-1 1-2 1, Felton 8-15 0-2 16, Smith 7-15 3-4 19, Martin 1-3 1-2 3, Kidd 1-2 0-0 3, Copeland 0-2 0-0 0, Novak 1-2 0-0 2, Richardson 0-1 0-0 0, J.White 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-76 16-22 87.

Boston 20 28 11 12— 71

New York 26 16 32 13— 87

3-Point GoalsBoston 5-19 (Terry 3-7, Crawford 1-5, Pierce 1-5, Bradley 0-1, Green 0-1), New York 7-19 (Shumpert 2-3, Anthony 2-4, Smith 2-4, Kidd 1-2, Novak 0-1, Copeland 0-1, J.White 0-1, Richardson 0-1, Felton 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 44 (Garnett 11), New York 54 (Martin 11). AssistsBoston 14 (Pierce 6), New York 14 (Prigioni 5). Total FoulsBoston 20, New York 17. TechnicalsNew York defensive three second. A19,033 (19,763).

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