NBA Playoffs: Celtics and Sixers increase leads with late drama, Bulls hit back against Bucks

Boston, Massachusetts - The Boston Celtics overturned a 17-point deficit to go 2-0 up over the Brooklyn Nets in their NBA Playoffs series, winning 114-107 on Wednesday.

Kyrie Irving gets shut down by Celtics guard Derrick White.
Kyrie Irving gets shut down by Celtics guard Derrick White.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Nets' lack of off-ball movement eventually told against the NBA's best defensive team, as Kevin Durant scored 12 points in the second half but went zero-of-10 from the open floor and the Nets went 11-of-36 collectively.

Kyrie Irving shot one-of-seven after the main break and the Nets' iso-ball was a complete fail. The second-half collapse came despite the Nets holding advantages in team rebounding, fast-break points, and points off turnovers for the game.

Derrick White was the only Celtic not to score in double digits as Ime Udoka went with the eight-man rotation. Even with the relatively low 27 assists for the team, the Celtics still had a +11 margin over the Nets in that category.

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Jayson Tatum was the only player on the floor with a double-double, putting up 19 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds as the Celtics protected home court.

Sixers win it at the death

Joel Embiid scored the game-winning basket against the Raptors with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Joel Embiid scored the game-winning basket against the Raptors with 0.8 seconds remaining.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers took a commanding 3-0 lead in their series with the Toronto Raptors, claiming a 104-101 win in overtime on the road.

After protecting home court, the Sixers also fought their way back from a 17-point deficit to take a huge step towards claiming the first-round series.

With the game tied at 101, Joel Embiid scored the game-winning basket with 0.8 seconds remaining, evading Precious Achiuwa and receiving the inbound to bury a turnaround three-pointer off the catch.

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The MVP candidate finished with 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting and 12 rebounds, while James Harden and Tyrese Maxey contributed 19 points each.

It was yet another poor shooting night for Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr, combining for 36 points but off 12-of-32 shooting from the floor, with VanVleet's two-of-10 from beyond the arc particularly damaging.

Bulls tie it up after DeRozan masterclass

DeMar DeRozan goes up against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Bulls' win over the Bucks.
DeMar DeRozan goes up against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Bulls' win over the Bucks.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls have managed to split the opening two games and can potentially gain home-court advantage in the series after their 114-109 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

There was a sense the Bulls could take at least one game from Milwaukee after the opener, which saw them almost claim the win despite a horrible shooting night from Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

After a combined 21-of-71 in Game 1, the three Bulls bounced back with a combined 33-of-62 from the floor, while Alex Caruso gave them a reference point with primary ball-handling duties.

The Bucks just could not stop DeRozan getting to his mid-range spots and the five-time All-Star finished with 41 points. Caruso did a bit of everything on both ends with nine points and 10 assists as well as two blocks and two steals.

While Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 33 points, Milwaukee ultimately could not work their way back from a poor first half that opened up an 18-point deficit.

Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports

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