Kings roll past Mavericks 83-79 in Game 2
Chris Webber got his first playoff triple-double and Brad Miller hit the go-ahead shot with 34 seconds left, leading the Sacramento Kings to an 83-79 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night in Game 2 of their first-round series.
Webber had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, while Mike Bibby scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Kings, who took a 2-0 lead in a playoff series for just the second time since moving to Sacramento.
But the Kings were barely tougher than Dallas on a night when no baskets came easy for the league's highest-scoring offenses. Sacramento couldn't breathe easily until Peja Stojakovic knocked the ball out of Michael Finley's hands with 11 seconds left, setting up two clinching free throws by Doug Christie.
Game 3 is Saturday in Dallas, where the Kings have lost five straight games dating back to last season's playoffs.
Dirk Nowitzki had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who got just one field goal in the final three minutes. Steve Nash missed an open 3-pointer with 19 seconds left, and Finley made the last of Dallas' 14 turnovers.
Rookie Marquis Daniels tied it twice for Dallas with free throws in the final 90 seconds, but Miller hit an open jumper from the left wing. Nash missed his 3-pointer, but Webber missed two free throws with 19.6 seconds left.
Reserves Lead Pacers Past Celtics 103-90
The Indiana Pacers proved they're more than Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal on Tuesday night.
A group of reserves rescued the Pacers with an 21-3 run spanning the third and fourth quarters in a 103-90 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.
With an erratic O'Neal watching from the bench and Artest watching from home because of a suspension, Austin Croshere and Jonathan Bender ignited a lifeless Pacers team late in the third quarter.
Croshere hit a 3-pointer at the close of the third period and Bender brought a boisterous crowd to its feet with a brilliant three-point play on a dunk in the fourth to give the Pacers a 72-69 lead.
Bender capped the run with a 3-pointer that gave the Pacers an 82-72 lead with 7:21 to play and propelled them to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The series moves to Boston for Game 3 on Friday night.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 27 points, but again struggled from the field despite the absence of Artest, the NBA's defensive player of the year.
Al Harrington was the only "starter" on the floor during Indiana's surge, and he is normally the team's sixth man. He was filling in for Artest, suspended for one game by the NBA on Monday for leaving the bench during a confrontation in the Pacers' Game 1 win.
Artest took just a few steps onto the court when O'Neal tangled with Boston rookie Brandon Hunter, but the league deemed it enough of an infraction to hand out the suspension.
Pierce figured to have an easier time with Artest out, but that wasn't the case. He made just seven of 18 shots after going 5-for-18 in Game 1.
The Celtics again couldn't find a way to compete with the Pacers for the full 48 minutes. The Pacers held two short leads in the first half as Boston forced nine turnovers and held a 19-6 advantage in fast-break points. Pierce hit five of 10 shots in the first half and scored 11 points as Boston took a 46-41 lead.
But the Celtics again fell to the deep and talented Pacers in the third quarter.
Indiana outscored Boston 50-30 in the paint and has a 98-58 advantage inside in the two games. O'Neal finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but it was the second unit, including Croshere, Bender, Fred Jones and Anthony Johnson, that made the difference.
Jones had 17 points, Bender finished with 11 points and seven rebounds and Croshere added 10 points and five rebounds. Harrington had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Chucky Atkins added 21 points and six assists for Boston.
N.J. Nets top banged-up Knicks 99-81
Once again, the New Jersey Nets were the source of the hardest fouls and the best basketball. The mismatch of the Knicks-Nets series stuck to form Tuesday night, New Jersey showing its superiority over an outmatched and banged-up opponent in a 99-81 victory.
The Nets opened a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which resumes Thursday night at New York.
The Knicks weren't as docile as in the series opener when there was no response after Tim Thomas was flagrantly fouled and injured, but they didn't put up all that much of a fight, either.
Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin led the way as the Nets took control in the second quarter. New Jersey led by as many as 22 points in defeating the Knicks for the 14th time in their last 16 meetings.
Martin led New Jersey with 22 points and 16 rebounds, and he also had the most egregious foul of the game midway through the third quarter. Although it was not called a flagrant foul, he reached around from behind Dikembe Mutombo and swiped violently at his arms, then shoved Mutombo in the back to earn a technical foul.
Richard Jefferson also had a harder-than-usual foul, chasing down Stephon Marbury and clobbering him as he went up for a layup on a fast break. Marbury jumped up quickly and appeared ready to confront Jefferson, but he thought otherwise - perhaps remembering he already had been called for a technical foul - and walked to the foul line under referee Greg Willard's escort.
New York pulled to 66-56 on a transition jumper by Kurt Thomas late in the third quarter, but Rodney Rogers answered with a 3-pointer and a layup. New Jersey then opened the fourth quarter with a 10-4 run to end all doubt.
Jefferson had 20 points, Kerry Kittles scored 16, Kidd 15 and Rogers 12.
Marbury, one of the few offense-minded players the Knicks had left as Tim Thomas (bruised back and ankle) and Allan Houston (knee soreness) sat out, led New York with 23 points. Kurt Thomas had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Penny Hardaway, who replaced Tim Thomas in the starting lineup, added 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
The Nets didn't score their second fast-break basket until midway through the second quarter, but they finished with 20 points on the break to help overcome 25 turnovers.
Perhaps no play signified how lost the Knicks were as one less than two minutes into the second half. The Nets, as they did throughout Game 1 and much of Game 2, sent a second defender to trap Marbury at midcourt as he dribbled.
Marbury was able to get the ball to Kurt Thomas, but the Knicks' offense came to a complete stop. Martin reached in and poked the ball loose, and Kidd streaked downcourt with it before feeding a behind-the-back pass to Martin for a dunk. Thomas shoved Martin in the lower back as he scored, and the three-point play gave New Jersey its first 20-point lead 59-39.
The same trap caused an 8-second backcourt violation, and New York committed six turnovers in all during the third quarter.
The hard fouls ceased in the final 12 minutes, and Nets coach Lawrence Frank pulled Kidd and Jefferson with 4:24 remaining and New Jersey ahead by 19.
With 46 seconds left, the few fans still remaining chanted "Sweep."