Basketball - Knicks turn up defensive heat on Celtics

The New York Knicks turned up the defensive pressure in the second half once again to shut down the Boston Celtics and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round play-off series.

Reuters
Basketball - Knicks turn up defensive heat on Celtics
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New York Knicks' Kenyon Martin (3) leaps to block away a shot by Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (L) during the third quarter in Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference play-off series in New York (Reuters)

Knicks 87, Celtics 71

Trailing the visitors 48-42 at intermission, the Knicks outscored Boston 32-11 in the third quarter and limited them to 12 points in the fourth for an 87-71 victory.

"It's about making adjustments at halftime," said New York's Kenyon Martin, who hauled down a team-leading 11 rebounds.

"Just being extra aggressive, coming out and playing a lot harder than we did in the first half. We were not helping one another. Same as in Game One."

In the opening game, the Celtics held a seven-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter before New York began to claw back and then put a defensive stranglehold on them to allow just eight points in the fourth quarter of an 85-78 victory.

Guard Raymond Felton said the Knicks knew what they had to do when they came out for the third quarter on Tuesday.

"I think we were aggressive defensively, staying into our man and playing great help defence," said Felton, who helped ignite the New York attack with seven rebounds and 16 points, many on assertive drives to the hoop.

"I think everyone knew what they had to do to get the lead, keep the lead and try to win the game."

After winning the first two at home, the Knicks travel to Boston for Game Three on Friday and the fourth game on Sunday.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers dismissed the saying that a play-off series does not begin until a team wins on the road.

"I guess they say the series hasn't started," said Rivers.

"I've heard this corny line a million times ... but I'm positive the series has started. Because we're down 2-0."

Rivers said the Knicks picked up their intensity after the break.

"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."

Much of the scoring punch was provided by Carmelo Anthony, who came back from a 3-for-11 shooting performance in the first half to finish 11-for-24 with a game-high 34 points.

"Just a tale of two halves today, same as last game," said the NBA scoring champion.

"In the third quarter we came out very aggressive and extended our defence. We applied pressure full court, we got stops and it opened up our offensive game.

"We buckled down on the defensive end and that's what opened the game up for us."

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Heat 98, Bucks 86

The Miami Heat took a 2-0 lead over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks with a 98-86 win in the first round of the NBA play-offs.

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and Chris Andersen sparked a big run at the start of the fourth quarter in the Heat's win.

LeBron James collected 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Andersen scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth as the Heat picked up their 10th straight win going back to the regular season.

The best-of-seven series shifts to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Thursday.

The Bucks closed to 68-65 at the beginning of the fourth quarter but Andersen got things started for the Heat with a pair of offensive rebounds and a three-point play that began a 12-0 run and put the game out of reach.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points and Mike Dunleavy added 16 to lead Milwaukee.

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