NBA ROUNDUP: Bryant’s 49 points lead Lakers past Nuggets

  • Associated Press
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:36pm
  • SportsSports

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant had 49 points and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Nuggets to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Games 3 and 4 will be in Denver on Saturday and Monday night.

Bryant, who was 18-for-27 from the field, scored 20 points in the first quarter to get the Lakers off to a fast start, and 19 over the last seven minutes to keep them safely ahead. He left with 2:02 remaining to chants of “MVP, MVP” from the capacity crowd at Staples Center.

Bryant was replaced by Coby Karl, the son of Denver coach George Karl. It was the first time in NBA playoff history that a father has coached against his son.

Pau Gasol and Luke Walton both scored 18 points for the Lakers.

Allen Iverson had 31 points and six assists to lead the Nuggets.

Pistons 105, 76ers 88

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Rasheed Wallace had another good game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Unlike the series opener, a few Detroit Pistons starters helped him out.

Wallace scored 11 of his 16 points in the first quarter and Detroit went on to beat Philadelphia 105-88 in Game 2 on Wednesday night to even the first-round series.

The Pistons had four scorers in double figures as it took a 17-point lead, while the 76ers had only Andre Miller, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half.

In their 90-86 Game 1 loss, the Pistons blew a 15-point they built midway through the third quarter.

Detroit refused to let the young Sixers rally again.

The Pistons seemed to play with a sense of urgency, swarming the Sixers on defense and relentlessly going after offensive rebounds for second and third chances.

Chauncey Billups made a 3-pointer early in the third — his first field goal — and made another from beyond the arc later in the quarter to put Detroit ahead 73-47.

The Pistons didn’t have any trouble holding onto the lead.

Game 3 is Friday night in Philadelphia.

Celtics 96, Hawks 77

BOSTON — Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo added 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds to lead Boston to a victory over Atlanta and a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

Paul Pierce returned from a first-quarter knockdown to score 14 points, and Kendrick Perkins added eight points and nine rebounds for the Celtics.

Josh Smith, who helped take Pierce down and appeared to land on him and roll over his head, had 13 points and eight rebounds for Atlanta. But it was Mike Bibby, who called the locals fair-weather fans during the week, who drew the ire of the sold-out Boston Garden crowd.

Bibby was booed at every touch from the opening introductions. As he sat on the bench in the fourth quarter and the game out of reach, the fans chanted “Where is Bibby?” and “Rondo’s better.” In the first two games of the series combined, Bibby is 4-for-17 from the field with two assists.

Fair-weather or not, the Celtics earned the right to play in front of their home fans with the NBA’s best record in the regular season.

And it’s paying off with the 2-0 lead.

Game 3 is Saturday in Atlanta.

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