The Miami Heat, annoyed by the Boston Celtics' trash-talking in recent meetings between the teams, came up with an answer last night.
Miami ran off 16 consecutive points in the second period for a 25-point lead, then coasted to a 115-89 victory at home. Boston had won four of the past five games in the series.
"There had been a little trash-talking in the losses we had against them, and guys had that in the back of their minds," Heat forward P.J. Brown said. "That was the reason for the intensity. You've got to do more than what they're doing to be trash-talking."
Voshon Lenard scored 21 points and Alonzo Mourning 20 for the Heat, who made 9 of 13 three-pointers. The Celtics missed 13 consecutive shots early in the second quarter, which allowed the Heat to score 16 points in a row for a 47-22 lead.
The margin was 59-39 at halftime, and Boston was never closer than 18 points after that. Antoine Walker led Boston with 28 points.
"There's been some talk about a rivalry that's brewing," Boston guard Dana Barros said. "Usually you hear all the talk about the Knicks and the Heat. If we could develop a rivalry with Miami like that, that would be really good for us."
PACERS 93, SUNS 87: After losing three straight road games, Indiana returned home and posted its 14th straight victory at Conseco Fieldhouse. Reggie Miller led the Pacers with 21 points, including four free throws in the final 24 seconds. Clifford Robinson led the Suns with 24 points.
KINGS 110, HORNETS 99: Chris Webber scored 30 points and Nick Anderson added a season-high 29 to help Sacramento kick off its longest road trip in 13 years by winning in Charlotte for the first time in nearly 10 years. Derrick Coleman had 24 points and eight rebounds for Charlotte.
SPURS 105, CLIPPERS 82: In San Antonio, Tim Duncan scored 24 points and the Spurs opened the fourth quarter with a 19-6 run to send Los Angeles to its ninth loss in a row. David Robinson added 22 points for the Spurs and both Duncan and Robinson pulled down 13 rebounds. The Clippers were led by Derek Anderson's 22 points.
TIMBERWOLVES 92, ROCKETS 84: Kevin Garnett scored 27 points and visiting Minnesota held on down the stretch to snap Houston's six-game winning streak.
Garnett added 12 rebounds and Terrell Brandon scored 26 points with eight assists for the Timberwolves. Steve Francis scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Rockets.
CAVALIERS 116, PISTONS 107: In Cleveland, Brevin Knight scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and four more in overtime and Bob Sura added a career-high 31 points as the Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak.
Jerry Stackhouse scored a season-high 38 points for Detroit, playing without Grant Hill (bruised hip) for the second straight game.
MAVERICKS 117, WARRIORS 103: Michael Finley scored 30 points as Dallas completed a four-game season sweep of visiting Golden State.
Dirk Nowitzki added 23 points and Cedric Ceballos had 18 for the Mavericks. Antawn Jamison's 33 points and career-high 21 rebounds paced the Warriors.
HAWKS 96, BULLS 89: Isaiah Rider scored 28 points and Dikembe Mutombo had 14 points and 23 rebounds to help host Atlanta put together its first two-game winning streak since Dec. 8. Elton Brand led the Bulls with 22 points and 10 rebounds.