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NBA playoffs: Celtics rout Bucks in Game 2 to even series; Grizzlies beat Warriors

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum reaches out his left arm for a layup.
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, trying to score on a layup, had 19 points against the Bucks in Game 2 on Tuesday night in Boston. The Celtics won 109-86.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
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Jaylen Brown scored 25 of his 30 points in the first half, and the Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 109-86 on Tuesday night in Boston to even their second-round playoff series at one game apiece.

Brown shook off a dismal shooting night in Game 1, going nine for 10 in the first half, including five for five from three-point range. Jayson Tatum contributed 19 points and eight assists. Al Horford had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The series doesn’t resume until Game 3 on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Boston made 20 of 43 shots from beyond the arc. The Celtics played without point guard Marcus Smart after he was ruled out before the game because of a bruised right thigh he suffered in Game 1. Derrick White took his place in the starting lineup, making his first start in a playoff game since 2019 when he was with San Antonio.

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The Celtics clamped down on Giannis Antetokounmpo after his triple-double in the series opener, limiting him to 28 points — mostly in the third quarter — nine rebounds and seven assists. Jrue Holiday had 19 points and seven assists. Bobby Portis chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Bucks cut into what had been a 26-point Celtics lead in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo keyed the charge with 18 points in the period. A 10-0 Milwaukee run, aided by a more than five-minute Celtics scoring drought, trimmed Boston’s lead to 72-56 late in the third quarter.

The Miami Heat pulled away for a series-opening win against the Philadelphia 76ers while the Phoenix Suns held off the Dallas Mavericks on Monday in the NBA playoffs.

May 2, 2022

But Boston outscored the Bucks 11-10 the rest of the period to take an 83-66 advantage into the fourth.

Milwaukee kept nibbling away and got it down it to 94-82 on a pair of free throws by Antetokounmpo, followed by a three-pointer by Tatum.

The lead was back up to 101-86 when Antetokounmpo was stripped underneath the basket, leading to another three from Tatum.

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Holiday missed a three-point try on the other end and Grant Williams sank his own on the ensuing fast break to make it 107-86 with 1:52 left.

With Smart looking in street clothes from the bench, the Celtics scored the game’s first seven points on their way to taking an 18-3 lead and forcing a quick timeout by the Bucks.

Boston scored from a variety of spots on the court during the run — attacking at the rim and inside the paint. The spurt also included 12 points from three-point range, where the Celtics struggled for most of Game 1.

Antetokounmpo missed his first six shot attempts of the night before finally getting on the scoreboard via a dunk with less than a minute left in the opening period.

It didn’t stop Boston from banking a 32-21 lead heading into the second quarter, boosted by 17 points from Brown — a career playoff high for a quarter.

The Celtics continued to share and kept Milwaukee’s defense in chase mode, eventually taking a 65-40 edge into the half.

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Grizzlies 106, Warriors 101

MEMPHIS — Ja Morant scored 47 points to match his postseason high and carry the Memphis Grizzlies into a tie in the Western Conference semifinals with a 106-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

Morant scored the last 15 points for Memphis, starting with 4:16 left. He drove and turned around a defender before hitting a 7-foot jumper with 1:42 left to put Memphis ahead to stay at 100-99. He added four free throws and a 9-footer finishing with 18 in the fourth quarter.

The NBA’s Most Improved Player, who also had 47 in Game 2 against Utah last year, became only the third player in league history to have multiple 45-point games in the postseason before turning 23. The other two? LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Now the youngest team to reach the semifinal round in the last 25 years heads to San Francisco for Game 3 on Saturday night knowing the series will return to Memphis for Game 5.

Stephen Curry finished with 27 points on 3-of-11 shooting outside the arc. Jordan Poole added 20 off the bench but was 1 of 6 from 3. Andrew Wiggins had 16, going 1 of 7 from 3. Klay Thompson finished with 12 points and was 2 of 12 from 3. The Warriors shot just 7 of 38 from 3-point range.

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