NBA ROUNDUP: Carmelo scores 34 as Knicks take 2-0 lead

2013-04-24T00:00:00Z NBA ROUNDUP: Carmelo scores 34 as Knicks take 2-0 leadThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

NEW YORK - The Knicks are halfway to the second round, and the once-mighty Celtics don't seem capable of stopping them.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith added 19, and New York took a 2-0 lead over Boston with another dominant second half in an 87-71 win on Tuesday night.

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who used a 27-4 run spanning halftime to blow it open and move halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. This is their first 2-0 lead since sweeping Toronto in the first round that year.

"I thought in that third quarter we were as good as we've been all year in terms of ball movement and pushing it and making shots," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 on Friday in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings. They will have to be much sharper to avoid their first opening-round elimination since 2005, before they became one of the NBA's power teams again.

Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but battled foul trouble and spent too much time walking back to the bench with a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd finally experiencing playoff success again hounding him every step of the way.

Plagued by turnovers in Game 1, when they managed eight points in the decisive fourth quarter, the Celtics watched it all fall apart 12 minutes earlier this time. They managed only 23 points after halftime, two fewer than in their 85-78 loss Saturday.

"I thought we attacked them in the first half, but they hung in there," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They didn't let us throw a knockout punch and I thought in the second half they turned that on us and they threw a knockout punch. Several."

Anthony followed his 36-point opener by making 8 of 13 shots in the second half to finish 11 of 24 for the game.

• Warriors 131, Nuggets 117: In Denver, Stephen Curry had 30 points and 13 assists and Golden State handed the Nuggets their first loss at home in more than three months in a stunner that evened the playoff series at 1-all.

Jarrett Jack added 26 points as the sixth-seeded Warriors wrested homecourt advantage from the NBA's best home team as the series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 on Friday night.

It was just the second road win of the playoffs following Chicago's win at Brooklyn on Monday.

The third-seeded Nuggets were an NBA-best 38-3 at home during the regular season and owned a franchise-best winning streak of 24 games at the Pepsi Center. Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer each scored 19 for Denver.

Rim shots

• Former UA assistant coach Mike Dunlap is one and done with the Charlotte Bobcats. The team fired him as coach Tuesday after the Bobcats went 21-61 in his first season - the second-worst record in the NBA behind Orlando.

Dunlap struggled at times with game management, transitioning from the college game to the NBA and handling professional athletes, often benching veteran players for weeks at a time after they'd irritated him in some way.

"I am very proud of the effort and hard work that the players demonstrated," said Dunlap, who thanked owner Michael Jordan. "I am looking forward to the next chapter in my coaching career."

• The Phoenix Suns parted ways with general manager Lance Blanks, ending a three-year stint of losing with the former player who had no experience as a GM.

• Mike Brown, who led Cleveland to the playoffs in all five seasons he coached them from 2005-10, agreed in principle to a contract to return as the Cavaliers' coach for a second time.

• Indiana forward Paul George, who averaged a career-high 17.4 points and 7.6 rebounds this season, was named the NBA's Most Improved Player.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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