Wiz­ards’ magic gives them 2-0 win over Rap­tors

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Wash­ing­ton, Cleve­land and Hous­ton all earned 2-0 leads in their NBA first-round play­off se­ries with vic­to­ries on Tues­day, con­tin­u­ing the pre­vi­ous day’s pat­tern.

All five of the se­ries that have played two games now stand at 2-0, with the Wiz­ards, Cava­liers and Rock­ets join­ing Mon­day’s win­ners Chicago and Golden State with the early two-game buf­fer in the be­stof-seven se­ries.

Wash­ing­ton’s 117-106 victory at Toronto owed most to John Wall, who had 26 points and 17 as­sists, and Bradley Beal, who scored 28 points.

Marcin Gor­tat scored 16 points, Otto Porter had 15 and Paul Pierce added 10 for the Wiz­ards, who re­turn home to host Game 3 on Fri­day.

Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas had 15 points and 10 re­bounds and Sixth Man Award win­ner Lou Wil­liams scored 20 points for the Rap­tors, who have lost four straight play­off games over the past two sea­sons.

Wash­ing­ton lost 15 of its fi­nal 19 road games in the regular sea­son, but re­dis­cov­ered its best away from home in times for the play­offs. Dat­ing back to last year, the Wiz­ards have won seven of eight away from home in the post­sea­son.

De­Mar DeRozan scored 20 points, Pa­trick Pat­ter­son had 15 and Amir John­son added 10 for Toronto, which has won just one play­off se­ries in six pre­vi­ous post- sea­son ap­pear­ances.

Cleve­land shook off a per­sis­tent Bos­ton to win 99-91 at home, with LeBron James lead­ing the way with 30 points and Kyrie Irv­ing con­tribut­ing 26.

James scored 15 points in the fourth quar­ter, moved past Hall of Famer Jerry West on the ca­reer play­off scor­ing list and made sure the Cavs didn’t slip up at home. He and Irv­ing com­bined for all of Cleve­land’s 24 points in the fi­nal pe­riod.

Ti­mofey Moz­gov added 16 points and Tris­tan Thomp­son had 11 re­bounds for Cleve­land.

Isa­iah Thomas scored 22 points for the Celtics, whose bench outscored Cleve­land’s 51-7 but did not get any­where near enough from the start­ing five. Game 3 is Thurs­day in Bos­ton. Hous­ton also pulled away in the last quar­ter to beat Texas ri­val Dal­las 111-99.

Dwight Howard, who scored 28 points, and James Harden, who added 24, dom­i­nated early in the fi­nal pe­riod to steer the Rock­ets to victory.

The Mav­er­icks scored the first four points of the fourth quar­ter to take a three-point lead. But with Harden on the bench, Hous­ton scored the next 11 points, pow­ered by three al­ley-oop passes from Smith to Howard, to take a 92-84 lead with about 8 min­utes left.

Smith fin­ished with 15 points, nine as­sists and eight re­bounds.

Monta El­lis had 24 points for Dal­las, which hosts Game 3 on Fri­day.

AP

Hous­ton Rock­ets’ Trevor Ariza #1 shoots against Dal­las Mav­er­icks’ Amare Stoudemire #1 dur­ing the first half of Game 2 in an NBA bas­ket­ball first-round play­off se­ries on Tues­day, April 21.

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