Kobe carries Lakers to 2-0 series lead | NevadaAppeal.com

Kobe carries Lakers to 2-0 series lead

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, carrying the Lakers in the fourth quarter when they lost the lead three times, and Los Angeles beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-92 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in a Western Conference playoff series.

Bryant was 13 of 15 from the free throw line, but just 12 of 28 from the floor in front of his dad Joe, who sat next to the Lakers’ bench.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 19, making all eight of his free throws.

Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum had six points and 10 boards for the defending champions, who failed to sustain their strong start for the second straight game.

Game 3 is Thursday in Oklahoma City. The Lakers are 39-1 all-time when winning first two games of a best-of-seven series.

Celtics 106, Heat 77

BOSTON – The Celtics didn’t miss Kevin Garnett at all, not the way Glen Davis filled in to lead them over Miami for a 2-0 lead in their playoff series.

With Garnett serving a one-game suspension for elbowing Quentin Richardson in Game 1, Davis started and had 23 points and eight rebounds, going aggressively to the basket to grab missed shots and draw fouls.

The Heat took a 29-25 lead on a dunk by Jermaine O’Neal. But the Celtics used a 44-8 surge over the next 16 1/2 minutes to go ahead 69-37, capped by one of Ray Allen’s five 3-pointers in the third quarter. Allen led the Celtics with 25 points, while Dwyane Wade scored 29 for the Heat.

Game 3 is Friday night in Miami.

Hawks 96, Bucks 86

ATLANTA – Joe Johnson took control in the fourth quarter to finish off a 27-point effort, Josh Smith finished one assist shy of a triple-double and Atlanta ran away from pesky but outmanned Milwaukee.

The Hawks took care of business on their home court. They’ll head to Milwaukee on Saturday night with a commanding 2-0 lead, the first time they’ve won the first two in a best-of-seven series since 1970.

Smith had 21 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists – not to mention two steals and two blocks. He had the crowd on its feet with four thunderous dunks and a couple more above-the-rim layins. Center Al Horford was nearly as dominant, scoring 20 points, snatching down 10 rebounds and blocking three shots.

John Salmons scored 21 points, and Ersan Ilyasova came up big off the bench with 13 points and 15 rebounds. But rookie Brandon Jennings, after scoring 34 points in Game 1, managed only nine points on 3-of-15 shooting.

Suns 119, Trail Blazers 90

PHOENIX – Jason Richardson scored 29 points, Grant Hill made 10-of-11 shots for 20, and Phoenix rediscovered its high-energy style to square its first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

Unlike Game 1, Steve Nash pushed the Suns to their preferred tempo from the start and finished with 13 points and 16 assists. Amare Stoudemire scored 18.

Martell Webster led the Blazers with 16 points. Andre Miller was limited to 12 after getting 31 in Portland’s 105-100 victory on Sunday night. Nicolas Batum also scored 12 before leaving with a right shoulder strain at the end of the third quarter.