April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points as the New York Knicks used a 32-point third quarter to beat the Boston Celtics 87-71 and open a 2-0 lead in their National Basketball Association playoff series.
The defending-champion Miami Heat, the Eastern Conference’s top seed, defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 98-86 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Heat forward LeBron James had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while guard Dwyane Wade scored a team-high 21 points.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 19,033 at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks erased a six-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Celtics 32-11 in the third quarter. Anthony, the NBA’s scoring champion, contributed 13 points in the frame and 19 in the second half, amid chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P” from the home crowd.
J.R. Smith added 19 points for the Knicks, one day after being named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
After being limited to eight points in the fourth quarter of Game 1, Boston scored just 23 second-half points tonight. Paul Pierce had a team-high 18 points.
In Miami, the Heat used a 12-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to pull away from Milwaukee. Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen and Shane Battier each added 10 points for the Heat, who out-rebounded the Bucks 43 to 33.
The Heat are 22-4 at home in their last nine postseason series dating back to the 2010-11 season.
The Heat and Bucks next play in Milwaukee on April 25. The Celtics host the Knicks in Game 3 the following evening, the team’s first game in Boston since three people were killed and at least 175 were injured by a pair of bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Elsewhere tonight, the Denver Nuggets look to open a 2-0 series lead at home against the Golden State Warriors.
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