Knicks, Spurs on Verge of NBA Series Sweeps; Warriors Top Denver

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and the New York Knicks won 90-76 to take a three-games-to-none playoff series lead against the Boston Celtics, who were playing at home for the first time since the Boston bombings.

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 120-89 to lead their series 3-0, and the Golden State Warriors topped the Denver Nuggets 110-108 to earn a 2-1 advantage in their first-round National Basketball Association series.

New York can complete a sweep of the best-of-seven series with a win tomorrow at TD Garden in Boston. It would be their first playoff series victory in 13 years, stretching back to when they reached the 2000 Eastern Conference finals.

“It wasn’t easy,” Anthony said in a televised interview. “We took our time, executed. We knew they were going to make some runs. We stayed composed.”

The Celtics and the Lakers would make NBA history if they rebound from three games down to win their series.

In today’s games, the Indiana Pacers look to take a 3-0 lead on the road against the Atlanta Hawks; the Chicago Bulls seek to extend their series lead to 3-1 against the visiting Brooklyn Nets; the Oklahoma City Thunder, playing without guard Russell Westbrook, who needs knee surgery, will try to win their third straight game against the Houston Rockets, and the Memphis Grizzlies need a win to tie their series 2-2 with the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

‘First Punch’

The Knicks, who opened a 16-point halftime lead, increased the margin to 21 points early in the fourth quarter.

“That first quarter on the road, you’ve got to make sure you take that first punch and we did that,” New York’s Jason Kidd said.

J.R. Smith, who was ejected when his elbow caught Jason Terry in the face with seven minutes left, and Raymond Felton added 15 points apiece for the Knicks. Jeff Green had 21 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 17 rebounds for the Celtics, who were held to 40 percent shooting.

“I didn’t think we showed up not to play well,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “I thought overall our effort was there, I thought we did lose our spirit early on.”

The Celtics wore green t-shirts saying “Boston stands as one” as they honored the victims and first responders of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings with a moment of silence before the game. Four people were killed and more than 175 injured when bombs exploded near the race’s finish line.

Injured Lakers

At Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tim Duncan scored 26 points and Tony Parker had 20 for the Spurs, who had a 55-44 halftime lead.

The Lakers, playing without injured scoring leader Kobe Bryant, were led by Dwight Howard with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Darius Morris, who had 24 points. They host Game 4 tomorrow.

At Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Stephen Curry had 29 points and 11 assists while Jarrett Jack added 23 points as the Warriors rallied from a 66-54 halftime deficit.

Ty Lawson had 35 points and 10 assists for Denver, followed by Corey Brewer’s 16 points.

The Warriors host Game 4 tomorrow.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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