Allen's three-pointer lifts Celtics over Bulls

The Sports Network

4/20/2009 11:29:34 PM

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Ray Allen's three-pointer over Joakim Noah with two seconds remaining lifted the Boston Celtics to a 118-115 win over the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

The shot and the win helped save the series for Boston, which had lost Saturday's Game 1 in overtime and risked going in a 2-0 hole with the series moving to the Windy City. Now the matchup's tied at a game apiece, with Game 3 scheduled for Thursday in Chicago.

Allen finished with 30 points, shooting 6-for-10 from three-point range, as well as five assists and no turnovers. It was a remarkable performance considering he shot 1-for-12 in Game 1, ended with four points, and missed the potential game-saving shot at the end of overtime.

"Basically all I said at halftime, I need one volunteer to score for us," Boston head coach Doc Rivers said. "And it was Ray Allen. I'm really, really happy for him because he struggled in the first game."

Allen's performance came alongside that of Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who had a triple-double despite suffering an apparent ankle injury. Rondo briefly left the game near the end of the second quarter, but returned for the second half and finished with 19 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds.

Glen Davis, starting in place of an injured Kevin Garnett, recorded 26 points and nine rebounds for Boston.

Chicago, seeded seventh in the East, nearly pulled off the huge coup of taking both games in Boston thanks to a 42-point effort from Ben Gordon. The guard shot 14-of-24 overall, including a 6-of-11 mark from three-point range, and sank a contested jumper with 12.3 seconds left to tie the game at 115.

Bulls rookie guard Derrick Rose, who had 36 points and 11 assists in Game 1, ended with 10 points, seven assists and six boards Monday.

"We left everything out there on the floor," Gordon said. "We could have won the game, but Ray hit a big shot and that's how it went. But I'm happy with our overall effort."

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, two free throws from Davis and a Rondo jumper gave Boston a 112-111 edge with 1:01 remaining.

Gordon then sank a jumper with 46.9 on the clock, but Rondo grabbed the rebound off a missed shot and dished a short pass to a guarded Allen, who drained a three-pointer from the left side for a 115-113 Boston lead with 25.3 seconds to go.

On the ensuing Chicago possession, the Bulls again went to Gordon. His jumper over Allen and Davis, who provided help from the right side, fell through to tie the game with 12.3 ticks left.

However, Allen stole the show on the other end, drilling his three over the 6- foot-11 Noah. Tyrus Thomas pushed a desperation three from beyond half-court at the buzzer, but it was well off the mark.

"Noah recovered," Rivers said. "It was unbelievable. I actually thought Ray was going to be wide open."

The Celtics scored 10 consecutive points in the first quarter to take an 18-6 lead. Later, Rondo's free throw with a little over a minute to play gave the Celtics a 35-25 lead, but Chicago responded with an 11-0 run that bridged the first two quarters.

Two free throws from Brad Miller and a layup from John Salmons got the Bulls within 35-29 at the first quarter's end, and Chicago began the second with seven more points. Miller had five of them, including a three that capped the surge and gave the Bulls a 36-35 edge.

Boston came back with eight straight points and continued to lead for much of the quarter. But Chicago used a 12-point run inside the final three minutes to grab an advantage. Gordon had six points, while Lindsey Hunter ended it with two foul shots for a 61-54 edge.

Paul Pierce scored the final four points of the half to get Boston within three at the break, and the Celtics opened the third quarter with five more points to back go in front, 63-61.

It was a seesaw game from that point, and Davis' jumper with half a minute to play gave Boston an 88-87 edge going to the fourth.

The Bulls appeared to take a decisive lead when they scored eight consecutive points late in the game. Rose had a jumper, then Gordon sank back-to-back threes to give Chicago a 109-104 lead with 3:11 to play.

But after each team missed a shot, Davis dropped in a layup and Rondo added another lay-in off a steal of a lazy Chicago pass, getting the Celtics within a point with 1:54 left.

Game Notes

Boston forward Leon Powe left in the first half with a knee injury. He scored two points in just under eight minutes, and went to the hospital to get an MRI exam...Pierce had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Kendrick Perkins ended with 16 points and 12 boards for the Celtics. Boston's bench scored nine points total...Miller had 16 points off the bench for the Bulls, while Noah ended with 13 points and eight rebounds. Noah and Thomas combined to block 10 shots...The Celtics held a 50-36 rebounding edge...Boston shot 49 percent, while Chicago made 50 percent of its shots...The Bulls sank 26-of-29 free throws, while the Celtics made only 17- of-25...Monday's game came on the 23rd anniversary of Michael Jordan's 63- point game. On April 20, 1986, Jordan scored 63 points in Game 2 of Chicago's Eastern Conference first-round matchup against Boston, which went on to win the NBA title. The Celtics, however, won the game in double overtime, 135-131. The 63 points still stands as a single-game playoff record.