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NBA Playoffs: Boston evens series, Spurs top Mavericks

Allen helps Boston even series against Bulls
HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) ó Ray Allen landed the final blow in a memorable duel with Ben Gordon on Monday night, shooting the Boston Celtics back into their first-round series.

Allen made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2 seconds left and finished with 30 points, leading the Celtics a 118-115 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Gordon nearly carried Chicago to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. He scored with 12.3 seconds left to tie it, the final hoop of his playoff career-high 42 points. Then Boston set up a play for Allen, who took a pass from Rajon Rondo and connected from the right side.

Allen scored 28 points after getting some advice from coach Doc Rivers at halftime.

“Doc said going into the half, ‘Be aggressive, but let it come to you,'” Allen said. “I never think I’m not in my rhythm. It can be a grind as a shooter. As a scorer you’re always trying to find something.”

Allen and Gordon each had several clutch baskets in the second half as the former University of Connecticut guards battled for control of the game. After Tyrus Thomas missed a shot from midcourt as time expired, Allen headed for his bench where injured Kevin Garnett delivered a couple of congratulatory slaps ó to his head and chest.

Allen said he doesn’t like “being made a fuss over.” But that was unavoidable after he broke out of his shooting slump. He scored just four points on 1-for-12 shooting and missed the final shot in Chicago’s 105-103 overtime win Saturday.

“It felt like we were at UConn in the summertime playing pickup,” Gordon said. “He is a great shooter and I knew he would break out eventually.”

The next two games of the series are scheduled for Chicago on Thursday night and Sunday.

“We feel very confident because we feel like we haven’t even played good basketball yet,” Boston’s Paul Pierce said. “Our best is yet to come.”

The Bulls showed they could compete with the Celtics, who could be without Garnett (strained right knee) for the rest of the playoffs.

“We got a split and that’s tough to do against the defending champs,” Gordon said.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Gordon gave the Bulls a 109-104 lead before the Celtics rallied. Glen Davis made two free throws and Rondo connected on a long jumper to give Boston a 112-111 lead with 1:01 to play.

Gordon followed with a 16-foot jumper and Allen countered with a 3-pointer that put Boston ahead 115-113 with 25.3 seconds remaining.

Then it was Gordon’s turn. He connected from near the foul line before the Celtics called a timeout to set up their final play.

Rondo dribbled on the left side and Allen worked himself free, caught the pass in rhythm and converted as the crowd went wild.

On his way to the locker room after Thomas missed the last shot for Chicago, Rivers shouted, “yeah, yeah,” pumped his fist and exchanged high-fives with fans. Then, headed to his postgame news conference, Rivers joked, “nice and easy, never a doubt.”

Davis had 26 points for second-seeded Boston, passing his career high of 24 points on March 21, and Rondo had a triple-double ó 19 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds. Pierce added 18 points and Kendrick Perkins contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds.

John Salmons had 17 points and Brad Miller scored 16 for Chicago.

The Allen-Gordon shootout “almost looked like they turned it into a personal battle,” Rivers said. “You know, who’s the best UConn player to ever play. And it was amazing.”

And physical.

“We were exchanging jabs there, and I don’t mean shots,” Allen said. “I mean he caught me with an elbow, I got him right back with an elbow. It was … competitive.”

Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro cited the Celtics’ rebounding as a key to their win.

“They had 21 offensive rebounds,” he said, “and it’s going to be hard to win any game, not even a playoff game, if you give up that many offensive rebounds.”

The Celtics nearly lost despite controlling rookie point guard Derrick Rose, who sat out most of the first quarter with two fouls. He finished with 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds after leading the Bulls with 36 points and 11 assists on Saturday.

Rondo missed the last 5:03 of the first half with a minor right ankle sprain but returned to start the third quarter. Backup forward Leon Powe didn’t return to the bench after going to the locker room early in the second quarter. Rivers said he didn’t know anything about Powe’s condition “but it didn’t look good.”

Notes:@ Garnett spent the entire game on the bench, mostly standing. In the opener, he was there for the first half but stayed in the locker room after intermission. … Gordon’s previous playoff high was 35 points. … The game was played on the 23rd anniversary of Michael Jordan’s NBA playoff record of 63 points. Boston beat Chicago 135-131 in double overtime. … Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Justin Masterson attended the game. Masterson was the winning pitcher in a 12-1 victory over Baltimore on Monday, allowing one run in 5 1-3 innings. … Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was at the game after finishing the Boston Marathon earlier Monday in 4:16:49. He sat next to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.


Parker’s 38 helps Spurs even series

PAUL J. WEBER
Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO (AP) ó Tony Parker wasn’t about to let the Dallas Mavericks leave San Antonio with two wins.

Parker walked off the court with 38 points, a comfortable lead and a roaring Spurs crowd cheering him back to the bench with a Game 2 victory minutes away.

Unlike the first game, Dallas was unable to pester Parker and the Spurs breezed to a 105-84 blowout over the Mavericks on Monday night. It evened the series and handed Dallas one of the worst losses in the history of the playoff rivalry.

“You want to make sure I’m in attack mode every single play,” Parker said. “Even if it’s not to score, to penetrate for my teammates or make great cuts.”

He did it all against the Mavericks, who head back to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday night. Dallas was trying to send the Spurs to consecutive home playoff losses for the first time since 2002, but couldn’t contain San Antonio’s speedy point guard.

Parker had 27 points in the first half and finished 16-of-22 from the floor. It was a marked difference from Game 1, when the Mavs let Parker score 24 but made him a non-factor in the second half, when he made just two field goals.

“First of all you have to meet the challenge,” Mavs guard Jason Terry said of guarding Parker. “We had four or five different guys on him.”

It still wasn’t enough. Parker had 19 points in the first quarter alone, equaling the Mavericks’ total.

Parker departed with about 5 minutes left in the fourth to a raucous ovation ó and with the leading man out of the game, many fans headed to the exits as Parker took his seat.

Terry had 16 for Dallas, and Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd had 14 points. Josh Howard scored just seven points after torching the Spurs for 25 in Game 1.

“I guess a split in San Antonio in a tough building is not bad,” Nowitzki said. “But if you win the first one you always want to get the second one. You’re not happy with a split after you get the first one.”

Nowitzki said his left thumb needed to be taped after someone hit it. He said the same thumb was jammed several months ago and that it hurt when hit again Monday, but he was able to finish the game.

The Mavericks beat the Spurs 105-97 on Saturday night for their first road playoff victory in three years. But it was hardly rare territory for San Antonio: The Spurs have come back to win four series after losing Game 1 since 2002.

They put together a convincing response in the second game and the frustration for Dallas could be seen all the way down its bench. Mavs owner Mark Cuban punched a water cooler as San Antonio pulled away in the fourth.

The Mavericks haven’t won a playoff series since 2006. Winning the opener was a start, but they’ll have to figure out another way to stop Parker in Game 3.

The Mavericks were a favorite target all season for Parker, who averaged more than 31 points and seven assists in four regular-season meetings this season. He had 24 points in Game 1 but the Mavs kept him under control by using different defenders, including the pesky Jose Barea.

The approach didn’t work this time.

Parker fell three points of his playoff high of 41, set last year in the first round against Phoenix.

“I try to stay the same and take whatever they give me,” Parker said. “Tonight in the first half they were going under the pick and roll and my outside shot was going. And then I was able to penetrate.

Tim Duncan had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Drew Gooden had 13 for the Spurs.

Dallas shot just 39 percent from the field. The Spurs also dominated on the glass, outrebounding Dallas 44-28.

“We talked about sustaining,” Duncan said. “Obviously we had a great start to the game and got out to a lead. We understand the third and fourth quarter last game we really let off the gas. Defensively we wanted to stay solid, and I thought we did a really good job of doing that and playing more of 48 minutes.”

Notes:@ Mavs G Jerry Stackhouse, bothered by a foot injury all season, left San Antonio on Sunday for personal reasons. Stackhouse watched Game 1 in a suit on the bench and isn’t expected to see any action in the playoffs. … Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle both groomed Cleveland’s Mike Brown, who was named the NBA’s coach of the year Monday.

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