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NBA: Raging Bulls up, 2-0

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Raptors edge Bucks, Clippers level with Jazz.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Chicago Bulls powered past the Boston Celtics 111-97 Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead over the Eastern Conference top seeds in their NBA playoff series, while the Toronto Raptors avoided falling into an 0-2 hole.

The Bulls, who clawed their way to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, are trying to become the first eighth seed to topple the top-ranked team in the opening round since the Philadelphia 76ers upset Chicago in 2012.

They’ll head home to Chicago with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven set thanks in large part to a vintage performance from Rajon Rondo.

Rondo, a former Celtic who won a title in Boston, narrowly missed the 11th playoff triple-double of his career with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler scored 22 points each, leading six Bulls players in double figures.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, still reeling from the death of his sister, Chyna, in a road accident at the weekend, had a quiet night. He scored 20 points but made just six of 15 shots from the floor, missed six of his 13 free-throw attempts and had five turnovers.

In Toronto, Kyle Lowry bounced back from a lackluster game one as the Raptors beat the Bucks 106-100 to level their series at one game each.

DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and produced the go-ahead jump shot late in the fourth quarter.

Lowry, who scored just four points in the Raptor’s series-opening defeat, added 22 points and delivered a clinching jump shot over Bucks rookie Malcolm Brogdon.

In the West, the Los Angeles Clippers turned up the pressure inside to salvage a split of the first two games of their series against the Utah Jazz.