Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 16 rebounds, Rajon Rondo added 20 points and 13 assists, and the Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-89 to move within a win of the Eastern Conference finals.
|Paul Pierce celebrates another Celtics |
home win [GALLO/GETTY]
Paul Pierce scored 29 and helped shut down LeBron James for much of the second half to give Boston a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven conference semifinal.
James scored 23 of his 35 points in the first half and was mostly quiet in the second before scoring six in the final 3:26 after Boston was well in the lead.
Game 6 is Friday night in Cleveland, with the deciding game in Boston on Sunday, if necessary.
James was 12-of-25 from the field, but only 4-of-11 in the second half and missed all five 3-pointers.
Lakers 111, Jazz 104
At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, his teammates kept Utah at bay down the stretch, and Los Angeles extended the stunning home success by NBA teams in the second round of the playoffs, taking a 3-2 lead over the Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Lakers, who never trailed, can advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2004 with a victory Friday night in Utah.
But if form prevails, the teams will be playing a seventh and deciding game Monday night at Staples Center, where Los Angeles has a 17-3 record against the Jazz since the arena opened before the 1999-2000 season.
Lamar Odom had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Pau Gasol added 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists, Vladimir Radmanovic scored 15 points and Derek Fisher added 14 for the Lakers, who were 17-1 during the regular season when all five starters scored in double figures.
All five Utah starters also scored in double figures led by Deron Williams, who had 27 points and 10 assists.
Carlos Boozer added 18 points and 12 rebounds, Ronnie Brewer scored a career playoff-high 16 points, Mehmet Okur had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko scored 12 for the Jazz.