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Paul Pierce scored 21 points and Kevin Garnett added 20 along with 13 rebounds as the Boston Celtics took a 2-1 series lead with a 90-84 win over Atlanta in overtime. Rajon Rondo returned from a one game suspension and notched a triple double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, his 7th of his postseason career. despite making just 7/22 shots (32%). Pierce also struggled from the floor (3/12 25%) but converted all 14 of his free throw attempts. Ray Allen came off the bench and returned after missing nearly a month contributing 13 points in 38 minutes. The Celtics shot just 41% overall from the floor but sank 22/25 (88%) from the charity stripe while outrebounding the Hawks 51-48. Garnett also blocked 4 shots and shot 9/18 (50%) from the floor. Atlanta shot just 38% including just 4/20 (20%) from 3 point range and committed 18 turnovers led by Joe Johnson's 29 points. Jeff Teague added 23 and Tracy McGrady contributeed 14 along with 9 boards off the bench. The Celtics went on an 11-1 run to open a double-digit lead with 7 minutes to play in regulation, but Atlanta rallied and tied it 80-80 on Johnson's 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Both teams failed to score on their next two possessions, leaving the Celtics with the ball out of bounds with 3.9 seconds left. Rondo inbounded to Pierce, who was defended by Johnson and had to take a long, fallaway jumper that bounced off the rim at the buzzer. Boston played good defense in the extra session and outscoed Atlanta 10-4 to win their second straight in this series. Game 4 is here tomorrow at TD Gardens at 7pm EST.
Spencer Hawes scored 21 points including several key 4th quarter baseline jumpers and JArue Holiday added 17 as Philadelphia used a 26-7 4th quarter run to upend Chicago 79-74 taking a 2-1 series lead. Hawes shot 7/15 (47%) and pulled down 9 rebounds while Holiday battled foul trouble to record 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Evan Turner contributed 16 points and 9 boards while Lou Williams finished with 14 off the bench. The 76ers shot just 34% overall including just 1/14 (7%) from 3 point range but converted 26/33 (79%) at the foul line. They also lost the battle of the boards 49-43 but committed only 8 turnovers. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 18 points and 10 rebounds but committed 6 of his team's 16 turnovers. Richard Hamilton added 17 points and dished out 7 assists, but shot only 4/15 (27%) overall. With one misstep, Joakim Noah crashed down on his side and clutched his sprained left ankle. Already reeling without Derrick Rose, the top-seeded Chicago Bulls now hold their breath waiting on Noah's fate for the rest of the first-round series. The Bulls can't afford any more injuries to their stars -- or else the surprising 76ers could be the team advancing to the next round. Already playing the rest of the series without Rose because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the Bulls got a second scare in the third quarter when Noah hurt his ankle. Noah, who scored 12 points, returned in the fourth quarter and mostly hobbled around the court. Hamilton hit a 3 for a 67-53 lead in the fourth and it appeared they were cruising toward the victory. Not so fast. With the Philly crowd standing and waving their rally towels, the Sixers seemed primed for a comeback. Hawes fought inside for a tough basket that pulled the Sixers to 69-64 to help them end the game on a stunning 26-7 run. Hawes hit a 20-footer for a 72-71 lead and Turner made two free throws for a three-point lead with 1:24 left. Their late run was enough to help them win consecutive playoff games for the first time since 2003 in front of a sellout crowd of 20,381 at the Wachovia Center. Game 4 is here tomorrow at 1pm EST.
Ty Lawson scored 25 points And Javal McGee added 16 along with 15 rebounds off the bench as Denver raced to a 25 point first half lead en route to a 99-84 win over the LA Lakers at the Pepsi Center last night. The Lakers still lead the series 2-1. LAwson shot 9/19 (47%) from the field and dished out 7 assists while McGee made 8/12 (67%) from the floor. Andre Miller an Danillo Galinari each contributed 13 for the Nuggets, who shot just 40% overall but converted 19/23 (83%) from the free throw line. Kenneth Faried also hauled down 15 boards and scored 12 points, as the Nuggets outrebounded the Lakers 54-44 and committed only 6 team turnovers. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 22 points but shot just 7/23 (30%) and committed 7 of his team's 16 turnovers. Andrew Bynum added 18 along with 12 rebounds and Pau Gasol contributed 16 and 7 boards. LA made just 37% from the field including just 6/25 (24%) from 3 point range. Ramon Sessions scored 15 points along with recording 9 rebounds and 6 assists, but it wasn't nearly enough in a losing effort. Denver led 55-39 at halftime. Then Bynum and Kobe Bryant got it going as the Lakers never got closer than four points and they faded in the fourth quarter, when they made just 3 of 14 shots. Bynum's putback with 1:18 left in the third quarter not only pulled the Lakers to 68-64 but his inadvertent elbow on the play broke Al Harrington's nose. He didn't return, but the Nuggets went on a 12-5 run to regain their composure and control of the game. The Nuggets used a 28-2 run spanning the first and second quarters to take a stunning 38-14 lead. Lawson scored 13 of the Nuggets' points as they scored 20 of the final 22 points of the first quarter, then teamed with Corey Brewer and Harrington on a trio of 3-pointers to stretch Denver's lead to 41-17. Game 4 is here tomorrow at 9:30 pm EST.