MIAMI — All it took was a couple of minutes, and the Milwaukee Bucks’ hard work through three quarters came undone.
The Miami Heat hit the Bucks with a 12-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter, providing the knockout blow in a 98-86 victory on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena.
Miami took a 2-0 lead in the first-round Eastern Conference series, with the series shifting to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Thursday night and Game 4 on Sunday.
The Bucks vowed they would get more balanced scoring after relying so heavily on guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in the series opener.
And they accomplished that with Ersan Ilyasova leading the way with 21 points and Mike Dunleavy contributing 16 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench.
Center Larry Sanders also bounced back from a tough playoff debut Sunday, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds.
Sanders suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and limped to the sideline but was able to return.
NEW YORK — The New York Knicks are heading to Boston, then perhaps finally back to the second round.
The once-mighty Celtics don't seem capable of stopping them.
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith added 19, and New York opened a 2-0 lead over Boston with another dominant second half in an 87-71 victory on Tuesday night.
Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who used a 27-4 run spanning halftime to blow it open and move halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. This is their first 2-0 lead since sweeping Toronto in the first round that year.
"For us, we know what type of team we are," Anthony said. "We know when we really buckle down on the defensive end, it's been hard for teams."
It's been brutally difficult for Boston.
Paul Pierce scored 18 points for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 on Friday in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.
They will have to be much sharper to avoid their first opening-round elimination since 2005, before they became one of the NBA's power teams again.
"We have to figure out the offensive side of the ball and not be so stagnated," Boston's Kevin Garnett said. "Figure out ways to score more often."
DENVER — Stephen Curry had 30 points and 13 assists and the Golden State Warriors handed the Denver Nuggets their first loss at home in more than three months, a 131-117 stunner Tuesday night that evened their playoff series at a game each.
Jarrett Jack added 26 points as the sixth-seeded Warriors wrested homecourt advantage from the NBA's best home team as the series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 on Friday night.
It was just the second road win of the playoffs following Chicago's win at Brooklyn on Monday.
The third-seeded Nuggets were an NBA-best 38-3 at home during the regular season but needed Andre Miller's last-second shot to beat Golden State by a basket in the opener and extend their franchise-best winning streak to 24 games.
Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer each scored 19 for Denver.