NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony topped 30 points for the second straight game and the New York Knicks once again shut down the Boston Celtics in the second half in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
That formula led to a decisive 87-71 Knicks victory, giving them a 2-0 lead in the series. Game 3 is Friday in Boston.
Anthony, the NBA’s regular-season scoring champion, poured in 34 points. He accumulated 36 points in the Game 1 victory. J.R. Smith added 19 points off the New York bench.
The Celtics were held to 23 second-half points.
Forward Kevin Garnett was again a non-factor for Boston. He fouled out with 6:10 left and the Celtics trailing 84-69. Garnett, who scored just eight points in Game 1, contributed 12 points in 24 minutes.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 18 points.
In Game 1, the Celtics struggled in the fourth quarter, scoring just eight points. In Game 2, it turned out to be the third quarter that haunted coach Doc Rivers’ team.
The Knicks outscored Boston 32-11 in the third to take a commanding 74-59 lead.
Anthony scored 13 points in the quarter as the Knicks took advantage of Boston’s smaller lineup. With Garnett and Jeff Green in foul trouble, Anthony was able to maneuver around the perimeter where he did the bulk of his scoring.
Tyson Chandler’s conventional three-point play not only provided the Knicks with a 55-50 cushion, but it also resulted in Garnett’s fourth foul of the night with 8:13 left in the third quarter.
The Knicks grabbed a 52-50 lead on a Raymond Felton layup with 8:49 to go in the quarter. The basket came in the midst of a 22-4 run that took up 7:00 of the quarter.
New York opened the quarter on a 10-2 blitz. Iman Shumpert nailed two 3-pointers to fuel the run.
Just as they did in Game 1, the Celtics led at the half. Boston outscored the Knicks 26-15 in the final 9:34 of the second quarter to grab the 48-42 advantage. Pierce and Avery Bradley contributed six points apiece during that span.
The bulk of Boston’s scoring came with Garnett on the bench. He was whistled for his third foul with 5:30 left in the half and left with six points and three rebounds.
Anthony was shaky in the Knicks’ half-court offense, making just 3 of 11 shots from the floor. He did a nice job of getting to the rim, however, nailing 8 of 9 free throws. Anthony led all scorers in the first half with 15 points.
The Knicks’ bench played a big factor in their 26-20 lead after the first quarter. Smith, Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin combined for 14 points. Smith had nine points, going 4 of 4 from the field, in eight minutes.
Garnett picked up two quick fouls that forced him to to the Boston bench just 3:30 minutes into the game.
NOTES: The Celtics wore “Boston Stands as One” shirts during pregame warm-ups as a tribute to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will be donated to The One Fund Boston. … The Celtics Shamrock Foundation has committed to raise $200,000 to also support The One Fund Boston. … Smith received the NBA’s Sixth Man Award. He came off the Knicks’ bench in all 80 games he played during the regular season, averaging 18.1 points. He was the first Knick to win the award since John Starks in 1996-97. … The Celtics’ 14-28 road record is the worst of any playoff team in the postseason. … Knicks coach Mike Woodson was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for April. New York went 8-2.
Heat 98, Bucks 86: Chris Andersen scored eight points off the Miami bench in the fourth quarter to keep Milwaukee at bay and boost the Heat to a 98-86 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoff series on Tuesday night in Miami.
The win gave the top-seeded Heat a 2-0 lead over the eighth-seeded Bucks in the best-of-seven series and raised their home record to 39-4 this season.
Leading by a slim 68-65 margin to start the fourth quarter, the Heat opened with 12 straight points that included a three-point play by Anderson and the Miami defense forcing turnovers on consecutive possessions.
LeBron James, who scored 19 points, knocked down a bucket before Norris Cole made two free throws during the sequence. Andersen followed with a layup and Cole hit a shot from behind the arc as the Heat opened an 18-point lead, its largest of the game.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 21 points. Five Miami players scored in double figures.
Ersan Ilyasova paced the Bucks with 21 points, with 14 coming in the first half.
In the third quarter, Chris Bosh scored eight points as Miami built up a 68-60 advantage with 2:03 to go before the Bucks closed the quarter with a flurry. Bosh had just two points to that point.
Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders, who missed four games with a back injury before scoring six points in Game 1, had eight in the third quarter and teammate Brandon Jennings scored seven, including a fast-break layup, to pull the Bucks to 68-65 at the end of the quarter.
In the first half, Milwaukee’s starting backcourt was held to one point — a Jennings free throw — and no baskets until Monta Ellis’ layup with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
With the score tied at 33 in the second quarter, Miami went on a 14-10 run to end the half despite going more than four minutes without a field goal.
James, Wade and Mario Chalmers combined to go 15 of 19 from the field in the first half and the rest of the team was 3 of 17.
Early in the first quarter, Milwaukee led by as many as five points as the teams combined to turn the ball over nine times. In one sequence, the Heat lost it on three consecutive possessions.
Ilyasova connected on four of his first six shots from the field and had 12 points in the first quarter for the Bucks.
Trailing 18-13, Miami outscored Milwaukee 12-5 in the final 4:15 of the quarter to take a 25-23 lead.
Marquis Daniels scored eight points off the bench for the Bucks in the second quarter after he finished Game 1 with two points.