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Kevin Garnett scored 27 points and Paul Pierce added 24 as the Boston Celtics earned back the home court advantage with a punishing 107-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers taking a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Cofnerence Semifinals. The big ticket continued to flourish on one of his most effective postseasons of his future HOF career by shooting 12/17 (71%) overall collecting a team high 13 rebounds along with handing out 4 assists. Pierce who is nursing a sprinaed MCL injury shot only 6/17 (35%) from the field but drained 11/14 (79%) from the charity stripe while collecting 12 rebounds and recording 3 steals. Rajon Rondo contributed 23 points on 9/16 (56%) from the floor while pulling down 6 rebounds and handing out 14 assists. The Celtics shot 52% overall including 5/11 (46%) from 3 point range and converted 22/28 (79%) from the foul line. They also committed just 7 turnovers, outrebounded the 76ers 44-37 and recorded 26 team assists. Thaddeus Young led Philly with 22 points off the bench on 10/16 (63%) overall. Jrue Holiday added 15 along with 6 rebounds and 9 assists and Lou Williams contributed 13. Philadelphia shot only 41% overall despite going 8/15 (53%) from 3 point range. They converted 17/22 (77%) from the free throw line but gave up 60 first half points and fell victim to multiple second and third opportunities that the Celtics took advantage of. Wearing their matching red 76ers logo T-shirts, fans fled for the exits at the 6-minute mark and the Sixers down as many as 25, 101-76. Doc Rivers kept Rondo, Pierce and Ray Allen in the game until the final minutes even though the game was well out of reach. The Bulls were burned by that in the opening round in Game 1 when they left Derrick Rose in with a 20-point lead. He tore his ACL and was lost for the season and the Sixers rolled to a series win. Boston hears the whispers that it's too weary and too old to win another championship. By the time they forced Sixers fans to flee their seats, the Celtics proved it's still too early to count them out. Philadelphia will have a chance to redeem themselves this evening when game 4 takes place at the Wachovia Center.
Kevin Durant scored 22 points and Russell Westrbook added 15 as the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a late 7 point deficit and came back to edge the Los Angeles Lakers 77-75 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena taking a 2-0 Western Cofnerence Semifinals lead. Durant shot 9/15 (60%) from the field along with collecting 7 rebounds and handing out 5 assists. Westbrook struggled throughout making just 5/17 (29%) overall with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. James HArden contributed 13 off the bench for the Thunder, who played more of a slowdown type game largely in part to tough man to man Lakers defense. OKC shot 42% overall including just 6/17 (35%) from 3 point range. They went to the foul line just 16 times converting 13 (81%) recorded only 15 assists and committed 14 turnovers. Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant led LA with 20 points each while Pau Gasol added 14 along with a team high 11 rebounds. Bryant shot just 9/25 (36%) overall while Bynum made 8/19 (42%) collecting 9 rebounds and committing 5 of his team's 13 turnovers. The Lakers recorded just 11 team assists and shot just 39% overall including a dismal 2/15 (13%) from 3 point range despite outrebounding OKC 41-36. Bryant drilled a jumper from the left wing and Steve Blake followed with a 3-pointer before Metta World Peace hit one of two free throws for a 69-63 advantage with 7:27 remaining -- the Lakers' largest lead to that point. Westbrook only provided the briefest of sparks for the struggling Oklahoma City offense, and Bynum's second straight basket -- on a left-handed hook shot at the left block -- made it 75-68 with 2:09 to play. Harden drove for a layup before Durant used his height advantage to reach up and tip away a pass from Bryant, who he was guarding. Durant ran out for a right-handed dunk at the other end before Russell Westbrook forced another turnover by aggressively challenging an outlet pass to Bryant along the sideline. Harden made the next stop, blocking Bryant's jumper on the next Lakers possession and getting a layup in transition off it to cut the deficit to one in the final minute. Bryant couldn't connect again, this time on a 3-pointer, to give the Thunder the ball back with the chance to take the lead and Durant was able to make it happen. Blake strong armed an open 3-pointer from the right side with about 5 seconds left after World Peace couldn't get the ball to Bryant on the inbounds play, literally sabing a missed defensive assigment by Westbrook that could have evened the series. Mike Brown said he thought Bryant was open on the back side of the play, but World Peace apparently didn't see him -- agreeing that Bryant was supposed to be the first option. Durant was then fouled with 0.3 seconds left and made his first try before missing the second on purpose -- failing to hit the backboard or rim for a violation. The Lakers got a desperation try but World Peace's long pass for Bynum was intercepted by Harden. The Lakers will try and get on the board this evening as game 3 takes place back at the Staples Center.