Ray Allen sank a three-pointer with two seconds left as the Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 118-115 to even their Eastern Conference playoff series at 1-1.
|Allen watches his shot pop sweetly through the net [AFP]
Allen, who had 30 points, broke a 115-115 tie with his second three-pointer in 23 seconds.
The two shots, sandwiched around a two-pointer by Chicago's Ben Gordon, prevented another letdown by the defending champion Celtics, who dropped a 105-103 overtime decision to the Bulls on Saturday.
"For that split second I was open," Allen said on Monday night.
Gordon scored a career playoff-high 42 points, his last field goal tying the score with 12 seconds to play.
"I was just in a zone – every time I got the basketball I tried to get a good shot," Gordon said.
Also on Monday, the San Antonio Spurs routed the Dallas Mavericks 105-84 behind Tony Parker's 38 points to even their Western Conference series at 1-1.
In Boston, the Celtics came back from a 109-104 deficit with three minutes to play as Allen scored 28 points in the second half.
A three-pointer by the Celtics guard put Boston ahead 115-113 with 25 seconds to go before Gordon responded for Chicago, setting the stage for the winner.
Boston led 61-58 at the half, but Allen said only Rajon Rondo, who had 15 points at intermission, was playing well.
"Team-wise we didn't have anything great going," Allen said.
"But I think in the third quarter once we started moving the ball, everything started falling in place."
Gordon said Allen, who had four points in Saturday's loss, made the difference.
"If he doesn't have the game he had tonight, we are probably going to win that game," he said.
"The main point of emphasis for them was to come out and get Ray open shots."
Glen Davis added a career-best 26 points for second-seeded Boston and Rondo, who helped set up Allen for the game-winner, added 19 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds.
John Salmons had 17 for Chicago and Brad Miller added 16.
Derrick Rose, who scored 36 points in Saturday's win, was held to 10.
"We would have loved to win this game and go up 2-0 but we got a split and that's tough to do on the defending world champions," Gordon added.
The Bulls host the next two games with play on Thursday and Sunday.
In San Antonio, the Spurs stormed to an 11-point first-quarter lead as Parker scored 19 – as many points as did the Mavericks.
Tim Duncan added 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists with Drew Gooden also scoring 13.
Jason Terry topped the Mavericks with 16 and Dirk Nowitzki added 14.