• Spurs thrash Memphis, Hawks batter Boston

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    LOS ANGELES: The San Antonio Spurs thrashed the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to take a 2-0 lead in their play-off series as Atlanta also cruised past Boston with a second straight win.

    San Antonio, boasting the second best regular season record in the league behind the Golden State Warriors, raced into the lead early on against Memphis and never looked back en route to a comprehensive 94-68 win.

    It was a second blowout victory for San Antonio over the Grizzlies, who had crashed to a 106-74 defeat in Game One on Sunday.

    With Game Three looming on Friday, San Antonio will now be odds on to take a step closer to a clean sweep against a Memphis side who have been comprehensively outclassed in their opening two Western Conference playoff games.

    In Atlanta, the Hawks took a stranglehold on their Eastern Conference series against Boston, romping to an 89-72 win to go 2-0 up in the best-of-seven series.

    An early barrage of three-pointers from Kyle Korver set the tone for a one-sided encounter as the Hawks raced into a big early lead that Boston never looked like overhauling.

    Korver, Atlanta’s joint top scorer with Al Horford on 17 points, hit five three-pointers, four of them in the opening seven minutes, to leave Boston reeling.

    Celtics guard Evan Turner was disgusted by the way he and his team-mates had surrendered the early initiative so easily.

    “In a playoff game, that should never happen,” Turner said. “We have to start off with more energy.”

    Boston coach Brad Stevens said his side had been unable to match Atlanta’s pace.

    “They were playing at a speed that we weren’t at,” Stevens said.

    “We can’t get off to starts like that. We just put too much pressure on ourselves to make shots later, because every one of them mattered so much just to give us a shot to get back in the game.”

    It marked a welcome return to form for Korver, who had made just three of his previous 19 three-point attempts. He missed all seven efforts in Game One.

    The series now moves to Boston for Game Three on Friday, with the Celtics desperately needing to turn around their form if they are to extend the series.

    Korver said he expected Boston to mount a response at home.

    “Game Three is going to be the toughest game of the series so far for sure,” Korver said.

    The Celtics badly missed the injured Avery Bradley, who damaged a hamstring in Game One and is now expected to miss the remainder of the series.

    His replacement, Marcus Smart, struggled to offer an attacking threat, failing to score until the fourth quarter before finishing with three points.

    Boston point guard Isaiah Thomas scored 16 points in a losing effort, while Amir Johnson weighed in with 14 points and eight rebounds.

    AFP

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