Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sixers stun Rose-less Bulls by 17

CHICAGO — Jrue Holiday scored 26, Lou Williams added 20 and the 76ers beat Chicago 109-92 Tuesday night to even their first-round series in the Bulls' first game since Derrick Rose's season-ending knee injury.

The All-Star 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 blitzed the Bulls in the third quarter in Game 2.

They outscored Chicago 36-14 in the quarter, turning an eight-point deficit into an 83-69 lead, and pulled even with the team with the best regular-season record.

"I can't tell you how exciting it is to come into Chicago and get a playoff win," said 76ers coach Doug Collins, who coached the Bulls early in the Michael Jordan era but before they began to win titles. "That third quarter we played was as good a quarter as I've seen our team play since I've been with them."

Former Florida star Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds. John Lucas III scored 15, but Carlos Boozer scored just nine and Luol Deng finished with eight. And the Bulls couldn't stop the Sixers, particularly in the third quarter.

Turner scored 11 in the third as Philadelphia wiped out a 55-47 deficit. The Sixers led 68-61 midway through the quarter after a 12-0 run that Elton Brand started with a jumper from the free-throw line.

"I thought the third quarter was the game," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The first five minutes, they were into us. We took tough shots and didn't have floor balance. They got into the open floor, crushed us off isolation.

"You don't replace the individual greatness of Derrick with any one player," Thibodeau added. "We need to do that collectively."

PHILADELPHIA (109): Iguodala 5-12 0-1 11, Brand 5-6 2-2 12, Hawes 1-3 0-0 2, Holiday 11-15 1-2 26, Turner 8-15 3-3 19, Allen 5-7 1-1 11, T.Young 3-6 2-2 8, Williams 8-13 3-4 20, Meeks 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 46-78 12-15 109.

CHICAGO (92): Deng 3-12 1-2 8, Boozer 4-10 1-2 9, Noah 10-11 1-2 21, Watson 4-11 2-2 12, Hamilton 4-10 2-2 10, Gibson 3-9 2-4 8, Brewer 1-5 0-2 2, Lucas 7-12 0-0 15, Korver 2-4 1-2 7, Asik 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-84 10-18 92.

Philadelphia 25 22 36 26— 109

Chicago 28 27 14 23— 92

3-Point GoalsPhiladelphia 5-12 (Holiday 3-3, Iguodala 1-3, Williams 1-5, Turner 0-1), Chicago 6-14 (Watson 2-4, Korver 2-4, Deng 1-3, Lucas 1-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsPhiladelphia 42 (Allen 9), Chicago 47 (Noah 8). AssistsPhiladelphia 23 (Williams, Holiday, Turner 6), Chicago 23 (Noah, Hamilton 5). Total FoulsPhiladelphia 18, Chicago 11. A22,067 (20,917).

Celtics tie series

ATLANTA — Paul Pierce hit the free throws to clinch it, then dropped to a knee near midcourt.

He wasn't planning on Tebowing, but it just felt right.

With a stunning performance, Pierce single-handedly led the Celtics to a playoff win — even without their floor leader.

Pierce had 36 points and Boston wiped out Atlanta's 11-point lead in the second half, stunning the Hawks 87-80 in Game 2 of the East series.

Boston heads home for Friday's game tied 1-1 Point guard Rajon Rondo will be back for the Celtics in that one, having served his suspension for bumping an official in Game 1.

Pierce outscored the Hawks all by himself over the last 15:08.

"I have a lot of experience, a lot of confidence from being in those moments," Pierce said. "You believe in yourself, your coach believes in you, your team believes in you, it's a combination of all those things."

Down the stretch, the Celtics simplified things: give the ball to Pierce and get out of the way.

"Paul was great," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The only way we were going to win a game like this without Ray and Rondo was if Paul had a game like this."

Late in the game, Pierce paused on his way back to the bench to copy the move named after NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, sinking to a knee and bowing his head for a brief prayer in the middle of the court.

BOSTON (87): Pierce 12-26 11-13 36, Bass 3-7 2-2 8, Garnett 5-13 5-6 15, Bradley 4-8 6-8 14, Pietrus 0-3 0-0 0, Pavlovic 2-5 0-0 4, Stiemsma 0-0 0-0 0, Dooling 2-4 0-0 6, Hollins 0-1 0-0 0, Daniels 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 29-68 26-31 87.

ATLANTA (80): Jo.Johnson 7-17 5-6 22, Smith 8-21 0-0 16, Collins 1-2 0-0 2, Teague 6-18 4-4 18, Hinrich 3-7 1-1 8, I.Johnson 2-7 2-3 6, M.Williams 1-6 1-2 3, Green 1-3 0-0 2, McGrady 0-0 3-4 3, Pargo 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-83 16-20 80.

Boston 24 17 20 26— 87

Atlanta 24 20 22 14— 80

3-Point GoalsBoston 3-14 (Dooling 2-3, Pierce 1-5, Bradley 0-1, Pavlovic 0-2, Pietrus 0-3), Atlanta 6-22 (Jo.Johnson 3-8, Teague 2-5, Hinrich 1-3, Pargo 0-1, I.Johnson 0-1, M.Williams 0-2, Green 0-2). Fouled OutCollins. ReboundsBoston 54 (Pierce 14), Atlanta 48 (Smith 12). AssistsBoston 14 (Garnett 5), Atlanta 14 (Smith, Jo.Johnson 5). Total FoulsBoston 24, Atlanta 26. A19,308 (18,729).

Stoudemire's punch puts him out for Game 3

NEW YORK — Knicks star Amare Stoudemire will miss Thursday's Game 3 against the Heat after he cut his left hand by punching the case surrounding a fire extinguisher, the Associated Press reported.

Stoudemire apologized on his Twitter account for the act, which leaves the Knicks without another key player as they try to rally from a 2-0 series deficit. Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert (knee) are also out.

"I am so mad at myself right now, I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed home for a new start," Stoudemire wrote on Twitter about two hours after Monday's game.

Late Monday: Thunder in tough command

OKLAHOMA CITY — All-Star Russell Westbrook had 29 points and hit a 3-pointer late Monday to give the Thunder an 89-88 lead in a chippy Game 2 victory for a 2-0 series lead over defending champion Dallas.

Shawn Marion fouled James Harden and the league's top scoring reserve — only eight days removed from a concussion suffered as the result of Metta World Peace's elbow to the head — hit both free throws in the final minute to give the Thunder the lead for good.

"We've just got to continue to take that punch from them and do a great job of sticking together," Kevin Durant said. "Games like this in the playoffs, they're going to get chippy and we know that. So, we've just got to play through it."

DALLAS (99): Marion 5-9 4-4 15, Nowitzki 10-19 11-11 31, Haywood 1-3 0-0 2, Kidd 2-10 5-5 10, West 5-12 2-2 13, Mahinmi 3-3 3-4 9, Terry 5-12 1-2 13, Carter 2-9 1-2 5, Wright 0-1 1-2 1, Beaubois 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 33-79 28-32 99.

OKLAHOMA CITY (102): Durant 5-17 14-16 26, Ibaka 1-2 0-0 2, Perkins 4-5 5-5 13, Westbrook 10-21 8-8 29, Sefolosha 0-1 0-0 0, Harden 2-7 10-10 15, Collison 2-4 0-0 4, Fisher 5-6 0-0 11, Cook 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 30-67 37-39 102.

Dallas 24 26 27 22— 99

Oklahoma City 32 25 22 23— 102

3-Point GoalsDallas 5-23 (Terry 2-6, West 1-3, Marion 1-4, Kidd 1-6, Carter 0-2, Nowitzki 0-2), Oklahoma City 5-16 (Durant 2-6, Westbrook 1-2, Fisher 1-2, Harden 1-3, Cook 0-3). Fouled OutCollison. ReboundsDallas 45 (Marion 8), Oklahoma City 44 (Durant 10). AssistsDallas 13 (Kidd 7), Oklahoma City 13 (Harden 5). Total FoulsDallas 26, Oklahoma City 28. TechnicalsNowitzki, Perkins. A18,203 (18,203).

Around the league: Magic seeks edge

ORLANDO — With their series even at 1, which team has established early postseason identity more between the Magic and Pacers?

Tonight's Game 3 in Orlando might help provide an answer.

"Obviously we want to go back home and play off the momentum of the crowd and just play better than we did (Monday)," Magic forward Ryan Anderson said after a 93-78 loss in Game 2. "We know that we can play better than this and play harder than this."

Glen "Big Baby" Davis maintained his consistency in Game 2 playing as an undersized center. New roles or situation aside, Davis said there continues to be a no-excuse mentality throughout the Magic.

"It's the playoffs, we got to go. We have to find it and regroup," Davis said. "I think we have to find our niche out there and get guys the ball at the right time."

POPOVICH HONORED: Gregg Popovich was named coach of the year after leading San Antonio to 50 wins and the West's top seed. He also won the award in 2003 when San Antonio won its second of four titles. Popovich received 77 first-place votes from a media panel; Chicago's Thibodeau was second (27) and Indiana's Frank Vogel third (seven).

BUCKS: Scott Skiles will return to coach next season, the final one of his contract, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

NUGGETS: Forward Wilson Chandler is expected to be ready by training camp next season after surgery to repair a labral tear in his left hip.

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