76ers shooting guard Evan Turner gets past Celtics small forward Paul Pierce to score the go-ahead basket in the final minute of Monday’s game.
Bosh out indefinitely, so Heat and Pacers adjust
MIAMI — Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat were relieved by the diagnosis. It’s the prognosis — or lack of one — that’s a source of worry now.
And suddenly, the Indiana Pacers may be even more of a threat.
Bosh strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series, that original diagnosis confirmed Monday after an MRI exam. The team said Bosh is out “indefinitely,” though coach Erik Spoelstra and others say the injury could have been worse.
Either way, Bosh is out for Game 2 today, and sounds like he probably won’t play again in this series.
“This season has to be extended for me to play again,” Bosh said. “So that’s what’s on my mind.”
Bosh was hurt late in the first half as he drove for a dunk and got fouled by Indiana’s Roy Hibbert. The foul almost certainly played no role in the injury, as Bosh fell forward to his hands and knees after landing and stayed down for a few seconds. He got up and made his free throw, but dropped to the court again on the ensuing possession, leaving the game for evaluation.
Without Bosh, Miami rallied behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who outscored the Pacers 42-38 in the second half themselves and fueled a series-opening 95-86 win.
“Seeing him yesterday, seeing the pain he was in, you feared the worst,” Wade said as practice wrapped up Monday. “But seeing him downstairs in the training room with a smile on his face — it wasn’t a big smile, it was a little one — but just to see him in there, it was good.
“You never know with these kind of things how long it takes.”
It’ll be an adjustment for Miami, which will likely start either Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony at center and keep Udonis Haslem in the opening lineup at power forward — and that trio earned a tip of the cap from Indiana coach Frank Vogel on Monday when he called them “three of the best dirty-work guys in the business.” James will see some time at power forward as well, which isn’t uncommon for Miami anyway.
The Pacers will also be doing some adjusting as well, after spending the buildup to this series preparing for James, Wade and Bosh.
“It changes their team, but we’ve got to understand it doesn’t allow you to play 5-on-4,” Vogel said. “They’ve got great players they can fill in for him. They’ve got different lineups that are sometimes more effective than the lineup with Bosh. Obviously, not having to worry about Bosh helps because he’s such a terrific player.”
Indiana got a look at what Miami will do without Bosh in the second half, when James and Wade dominated the ball. James took 17 shots in the second half, Wade took 13. No other Heat player took more than two shots after halftime.
BOSTON — Not this time, Celtics.
After letting another fourth-quarter lead slip away in Boston, Philadelphia took it right back and held on to it, fighting off every run the Celtics made down the stretch for an 82-81 victory Monday night to even the Eastern Conference second-round series at one game apiece.
“We knew to expect the same type of game,” said Evan Turner, whose layup with 40.4 seconds to play put Philadelphia ahead to stay. “We did what we needed to do to win this game, just like we didn’t the first time around.”
Turner’s layup gave the Sixers a 76-75 lead and Philadelphia clinched it by going 6-for-6 from the free throw line over the final 12 seconds.
“We just found a way,” Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. “All season long we couldn’t win these games and now our guys are believing they can do it. And it is pretty special to watch.”
Turner finished with 10 points, Jrue Holiday scored 18 and Andre Iguodala added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Sixers, who blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead as the Celtics won Game 1.
Philadelphia failed to hang on to the lead again, but this time the Sixers outplayed the Celtics down the stretch.
Game 3 is Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia won its first playoff game in Boston since 1982 despite committing a playoff-high 19 turnovers and getting outrebounded 47-36.
“We’re keeping our composure. We’re keeping our confidence and know it’s going to be grind-out games,” Iguodala said.
Every time the Celtics appeared to have regained the momentum, the Sixers came up with an answer. After trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, Boston’s Kevin Garnett tied it at 65-all on a turnaround jumper with 4:33 to play. The Celtics had the Sixers on the verge of a turnover when Paul Pierce blocked Lou Williams and the ball went out of bounds with just .9 seconds left on the shot clock.
Lavoy Allen got the inbounds pass and banked in a shot from 22 feet and the Sixers were back in the lead.
“Well, the clock was down to point-nine seconds. I did what I could,” Allen said.
Garnett scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 12 rebounds. Ray Allen scored 17 points for Boston.
Brandon Bass had 12 points for the Celtics, who couldn’t quite repeat their comeback in the series-opening 92-91 victory.
“Listen, we put ourselves in that position,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “You put yourself in position to let someone else do something, then you can lose games and that’s what happened.”
Philadelphia led 57-49 entering the fourth, but Boston tied it twice before going up 72-71 on Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer, setting off a series of shots from beyond the arc.
Holiday answered with a 3 for the Sixers, then Ray Allen got the lead right back for the Celtics on a 3-pointer with 1:40 left. The Celtics had a chance to extend the lead after forcing the Sixers into a 24-second shot clock violation, but Rajon Rondo missed a shot and Iguodala got the rebound, leading to Turner’s layup to put the Sixers up 76-75 with 40.4 seconds to go.
“We gave them a couple shots that if we could get back we would love to have back,” Ray Allen said.
Rondo and Allen both missed shots that would have put Boston ahead, then Rondo fouled Turner with 14.4 seconds left. The Celtics fouled Turner again with 12 seconds and he hit both free throws to extend the lead to 78-76.
Fans grew restless as the second half opened with sloppy, choppy play by both teams. Boston led 38-36 at halftime and nearly 7 minutes into the third quarter the score was just 43-41 with the Celtics still ahead.
When the shots finally started falling, they were all for Philadelphia. The Sixers scored 14 straight points, turning a 47-43 deficit into a 57-47 lead in the final minute of the period. Boston went without a point for 4:40, finally scoring when Pierce made two free throws with 2.4 seconds left in the period.
The Celtics committed seven turnovers during the quarter and made just 4 of 17 shots.
“We knew it’d be a close game. We just needed to get stops down the stretch and we didn’t,” said Pierce, who finished with just seven points. “The third quarter really hurt us. We couldn’t score, and then Turner made some tough shots down the stretch.”
Spencer Hawes finished with eight points and 10 rebounds and Lavoy Allen scored 10 points for the Sixers.
Notes: The Celtics scored the first nine points. … Boston made its first five shots, not missing until Hawes blocked Bradley’s attempt 3:24 into the game. … Rondo had eight assists in the first half, including alley-oop setups for Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins, who had to reach behind his head for the pass but still corralled it for the two-handed dunk to put the Celtics up 33-29. … Holiday led Philadelphia with 13 points in the first half. He was the only Sixer to score in double figures in the first two periods. Hawes was the next closest with six points. … The Sixers had lost their last seven playoff games in Boston, last winning on May 23, 1982, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Thunder clobber Lakers 119-90 in Game 1
OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had 27 points and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder blasted the weary Los Angeles Lakers 119-90 on Monday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Thunder took a 15-point halftime lead, then opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing 3-pointers and dunks.
Oklahoma City led by as many as 35 points, getting a measure of vengeance for the elbow Metta World Peace delivered to the head of the Thunder's James Harden three weeks earlier — and without needing dirty tactics to do it.
Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins limped off after aggravating a hip injury from the first round.
Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points each for the Lakers and Bynum had 14 rebounds.
The Thunder committed a franchise-record four turnovers.
Two games after trailing by as many as 28 points in a blowout loss in Game 6 in Denver, it got even worse for the Lakers. They responded to that loss by beating the Nuggets 96-87 in a thrilling Game 7 on Saturday night.
They'll need another big bounce back for Game 2 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
While the Lakers were making a quick turnaround less than 48 hours after ending the first round, the Thunder had eight full days off following their first-round sweep of defending NBA champion Dallas.
It got out of hand just after halftime, in highlight-reel fashion.
Durant lobbed the ball to Westbrook for a two-handed slam, then connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to draw a timeout from Lakers coach Mike Brown.
That still didn't slow down Oklahoma City, which got what could have been a costly two-handed dunk from Perkins on its next trip and then another 3 from Durant before Thabo Sefolosha swiped the ball from Bryant and ran out for a layup that made it 74-46 with 8:39 left in the period.
Both coaches started going to their benches with 8½ minutes left, and Los Angeles reserve Devin Ebanks ended up getting ejected with 2:18 to play after walking up to a scrum for the ball after the whistle. Official Greg Willard said at the scorer's table that he was ejected for "what he said" in drawing a technical foul.
It ended up tying for the 12th-worst blowout in Lakers playoff history.
Perkins returned to the bench but did not come back into the game after getting hurt. He had missed most of the week of practice after straining a muscle in his right hip in the final game of the Dallas series.
The buildup to the game focused largely on it being the first meeting between the teams since World Peace gave Harden a concussion by elbowing him in the head three weeks ago, in the final stretch of the regular season.
World Peace got a seven-game suspension, returning just in time to help L.A. win Game 7 against Denver.
A sold-out crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena wasn't nearly as happy to see him back, although World Peace — who changed his name from Ron Artest — was hardly fazed by the chorus of boos that greeted him during pregame introductions or again whenever the ball came his way.
World Peace knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key amid boos the first time he touched the ball, set up a two-handed jam by Bynum and drilled another 3 within the first 2½ minutes.
The Thunder turned an early six-point deficit around with a 19-7 run punctuated by Harden's driving layup that led to a three-point play and a 25-19 lead, and they never trailed again.
If the Lakers' legs were weary, it showed most on the defensive end. Oklahoma City shot 53 percent and the league's most turnover-prone team committed only one — Harden's failed alley-oop pass for Durant that banged off the glass and was grabbed by World Peace — while building a 59-44 halftime lead.
Notes: Bryant tied former teammate Shaquille O'Neal for the third-most playoff games in NBA history with 216. ... Perkins was called for a lane violation in the first quarter after arguing with Willard about a call and then walking up to his spot along the lane while Bynum was shooting. Bynum made both foul shots when awarded the extra chance. ... Toby Keith's daughter, Krystal, sang the national anthem.