PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Garnett had 27 points and 13 rebounds to help the Celtics beat the 76ers 107-91 and take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern semifinals on Wednesday.
Whistled for an illegal pick late in a Game 2 loss, Garnett scored 13 of his team's 32 points during the second quarter.
"He got the ball in his spots," said Boston's Rajon Rondo, who had 23 points and 14 assists. "He hit a couple of fadeaways. A lot of those guys are smaller than him, so he was just able to turn around and shoot over them."
After Thaddeus Young's jumper put the Sixers up 35-28 just 31 seconds into the second quarter, the Celtics took over. They held the Sixers to 3-for-14 shooting, outrebounded them 16-5 and made 12 of 16 shots, including two 3-pointers by Mickael Pietrus.
"Our offense finally came alive," said Paul Pierce, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds. "We moved the ball."
The lead grew to 25 in the third quarter. And fans started toward the exits with six minutes left and the Sixers down 101-76.
"We ran into a Celtics team that had a real sense of purpose about them," said Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, whose team had won four consecutive home playoff games. "You could see in moment one, they were looking to push that ball in every situation. We got seduced early in the game. We got in a nice rhythm offensively, and we never got into a defensive mind-set. Then they ran out on the break and scored."
The Celtics intend to keep up the pressure in Game 4 .
"When you beat a team like this at home, you have to expect them coming out with a lot of energy," Garnett said. "But we'll be ready, and we'll have a lot of energy ourselves."
BOSTON (107): Pierce 6-17 11-14 24, Bass 5-10 0-0 10, Garnett 12-17 3-5 27, Rondo 9-16 4-4 23, Bradley 0-2 0-0 0, Stiemsma 0-0 0-0 0, R.Allen 1-1 1-2 3, Pietrus 4-8 2-2 13, Hollins 1-4 1-1 3, Dooling 1-1 0-0 2, Daniels 0-0 0-0 0, Pavlovic 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 40-77 22-28 107.
PHILADELPHIA (91): Iguodala 3-6 2-3 10, Brand 1-6 1-1 3, Hawes 2-8 0-1 4, Holiday 5-10 2-2 15, Turner 1-10 2-4 4, T.Young 10-16 2-2 22, L.Allen 2-4 0-0 4, L.Williams 4-10 3-3 13, Meeks 4-9 4-4 13, S.Young 0-0 0-0 0, Vucevic 0-1 1-2 1, Silas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 33-81 17-22 91.
Boston 28 32 29 18— 107
Philadelphia 33 16 17 25— 91
3-Point Goals—Boston 5-11 (Pietrus 3-4, Rondo 1-3, Pierce 1-3, Bradley 0-1), Philadelphia 8-15 (Holiday 3-4, L.Williams 2-3, Iguodala 2-4, Meeks 1-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Boston 55 (Garnett 13), Philadelphia 41 (Turner 8). Assists—Boston 26 (Rondo 14), Philadelphia 22 (Holiday 9). Total Fouls—Boston 19, Philadelphia 20. A—20,351 (20,318).
Thunder stages late comeback for 2-0 lead
OKLAHOMA CITY — Down seven with 2:08 left, the Thunder rallied and beat the Lakers 77-75 to take a 2-0 lead in the West semifinal. Oklahoma City ended the game with an 9-0 run.
Kevin Durant's inside basket with 18.5 seconds left put the Thunder up 76-75. Steve Blake missed a 3-pointer with a second left for Los Angeles. And Durant made a free throw with .3 seconds left.
James gets physical
LeBron James is getting a firsthand look at just how hard it is for Miami to replace Chris Bosh.
Playing extended minutes at power forward with Bosh out with an abdominal strain took its toll on James during Tuesday's 78-75 loss to the Pacers that evened the East semifinal final at one game.
"It's a lot more taxing being in there with bigger guys," he said a day before tonight's Game 3 in Indiana. "(Defense) is the biggest difference. When you're on the perimeter, there's more space. The interior is more cramped and physical."
Bosh's absence not only means more physical play for James but less rest. He played 43 of 48 minutes in both games of the series.
"Forty minutes in the playoffs is different than 40 minutes in the regular season," James said. "Intensity is raised. The grind is much more intense. Hopefully, I can get a few minutes (of rest) here and there."
Guards hope for more
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — That marquee matchup between All-Star point guards Chris Paul and Tony Parker? A bust for Tuesday's Game 1 of the West semifinal.
The Spurs beat the Clippers 108-92 despite Parker scoring seven on 1-of-9 shooting. Paul scored six on 3-of-13 shooting.
"I didn't play effectively," Paul said a day before today's Game 2. "I've got to have a better game."
Parker didn't beat himself up.
"They wanted to take me out, trapping me and forcing me to give the ball up," he said. "If they want to do that strategy, Timmy (Duncan) is going to have a lot of wide-open shots. And all of our shooters are going to have a lot of open shots."
Indeed, Duncan scored 26, and the Spurs tied a franchise playoff record by making 13 3-pointers.
"Good players take what's given," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"And Tony did that."
Lakers: The league fined forward Devin Ebanks $25,000 and center Andrew Bynum $15,000. Ebanks was ejected Monday for saying something to an official then ripped off his jersey as he walked toward the locker room. Bynum did not make himself available to the media after Tuesday's practice.
Around the league
Executive of the Year: Indiana's Larry Bird won, becoming the first to win player MVP (1983-84, 1984-85 and 1985-86 with the Celtics), coach of the year (1997-98 with the Pacers) and executive of the year. Bird received 12 of 30 first-place votes and 88 points from a panel of team executives. San Antonio's R.C. Buford (eight first-place votes, 56 points) finished second.