Boston ties series without Rondo, Bulls routed
LOS ANGELES, May 2 — The Boston Celtics held firm, while Eastern Conference rivals the Chicago Bulls collapsed as the NBA title contenders handled the absence of their All Star point guards in different ways yesterday.
Boston, despite the absence of the suspended Rajon Rondo, clawed their way to a series-tying 87-80 victory at the Atlanta Hawks, while the Bulls, without the injured Derrick Rose, lost to Philadelphia in a 109-92 blowout.
Paul Pierce seized the mantle with 36 points and 14 rebounds as the veteran Celtics outscored Atlanta 26-14 in the fourth quarter to seize the game.
Boston trailed by 11 points late in the third but used an 11-2 run in the fourth to beat the Hawks, who got a team-high 22 points from Joe Johnson.
Rondo, who was suspended for one game for bumping into a referee, should return to the Celtics lineup on Friday for Game Three in Boston. Rose, however, has already been ruled out of the playoffs after he ruptured a knee ligament on Saturday.
Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday scored 26 points while Lou Williams added 20 as the 76ers played a high-tempo game and ran away from Chicago with a 36-14 advantage in the third.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 21 points. Game Three is in Philadelphia on Friday with the series tied 1-1. — Reuters