Boston 118 Chicago 115
BOSTON — Ray Allen landed the final blow in a memorable duel with Ben Gordon on Monday night, shooting the Boston Celtics back into their first-round series.
Allen made a tiebreaking three-pointer with two seconds left and finished with 30 points, leading the Celtics a 118-115 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Gordon nearly carried Chicago to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. He scored with 12.3 seconds left to tie it, the final hoop of his playoff career-high 42 points. Then Boston set up a play for Allen, who took a pass from Rajon Rondo and connected from the right side.
Allen scored 28 points after getting some advice from coach Doc Rivers at halftime.
“Doc said going into the half, ‘Be aggressive, but let it come to you,”’ Allen said. “I never think I’m not in my rhythm. It can be a grind as a shooter. As a scorer you’re always trying to find something.”
Allen and Gordon each had several clutch baskets in the second half as the former University of Connecticut guards battled for control of the game. After Tyrus Thomas missed a shot from midcourt as time expired, Allen headed for his bench where injured Kevin Garnett delivered a couple of congratulatory slaps — to his head and chest.
Allen said he doesn’t like “being made a fuss over.”
But that was unavoidable after he broke out of his shooting slump. He scored just four points on 1-for-12 shooting and missed the final shot in Chicago’s 105-103 overtime win Saturday.
“It felt like we were at UConn in the summertime playing pickup,” Gordon said. “He is a great shooter and I knew he would break out eventually.”
The next two games of the series are scheduled for Chicago on Thursday night and Sunday.
“We feel very confident because we feel like we haven’t even played good basketball yet,” Boston’s Paul Pierce said. “Our best is yet to come.”
The Bulls showed they could compete with the Celtics, who could be without Garnett (strained right knee) for the rest of the playoffs.
“We got a split and that’s tough to do against the defending champs,” Gordon said.
San Antonio 105 Dallas 84
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker had 38 points and eight assists to help the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-84 on Monday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.
Dallas was trying to send the Spurs to consecutive home playoff losses for the first time since 2002, but couldn’t contain San Antonio’s speedy point guard. Parker had 27 points in the first half.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Parker said. “It was a must win for us. Big game.”
Jason Terry finished with 16 points for the Mavericks, who suffered one of the worst losses in the playoff rivalry.
Game 3 is Thursday in Dallas.
The Mavericks beat the Spurs 105-97 on Saturday night for their first road playoff victory in three years. But it was hardly rare territory for San Antonio: The Spurs have come back to win four series after losing Game 1 since 2002.
They put together a convincing response in the second game and the frustration for Dallas could be seen all the way down its bench. Mavs owner Mark Cuban punched a water cooler as San Antonio pulled away in the fourth.
The Mavericks haven’t won a playoff series since 2006. Winning the opener was a start, but they’ll have to figure out another way to stop Parker in Game 3.
Parker finished 16-of-22 from the field. He had 19 points in the first quarter alone, equalling the Mavericks’ total.
Parker departed with about five minutes left in the fourth to a raucous ovation — and with the leading man out of the game, many fans headed to the exits as Parker took his seat.
The Mavericks were a favourite target all season for Parker, who averaged more than 31 points and seven assists in four regular-season meetings this season. He had 24 points in Game 1 but the Mavs kept him under control by using different defenders, including the pesky Jose Barea.
The approach didn’t work this time.
Parker fell three points of his playoff high of 41, set last year in the first round against Phoenix.