michael-garcia - May 3, 2012
Three games in the NBA Playoffs last night and they all lived up to the hype. The 76ers destroyed the East's number one seed, the Chicago Bulls, who were playing without star Derrick Rose. The Celtics took game two on the road in Atlanta, thanks to Paul Pierce, and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to a 2-0 lead in their series with the Nuggets.
Chicago looked lost without Rose, who tore his ACL in the final minutes of game one and is out for the playoffs and beyond. Philadelphia seriously shifted the momentum with a 109-92 win in the Windy City, and the Bulls confidence might just be shaken enough that the eigth seeded Sixers could pull this series off.
The Bulls were 19-8 during the regular season without Rose, but this is the Playoffs, where the intensity is off the charts. Chicago needs to forget game two and take game three in Philly in a bad way. Any more confidence on the side of the 76ers could spell disaster for the Bulls.
In Atlanta, Pierce turned back the clock and went off for 36 points and 14 rebounds, though he did also add eight turnovers. It didn't matter, because Pierce was huge down the stretch, getting a dunk and a three on consecutive plays to help lift the Celtics to an 87-80 win and a 1-1 tie in the series. Kevin Garnett added 15 points and 12 boards for Boston. Atlanta's Josh Smith left with a sprained knee late in the game and didn't return. His status for game three is still unknown.
Kobe lit it up, hitting for 38 points in Los Angeles as the Lakers took a 2-0 lead over the Nuggets in the Western Conference first round. Andrew Bynum chipped in 27 points, a playoff career high for him, and Pau Gasol had a double double with 13 points and 10 boards.
Article by Eric Gray