San Antonio Spurs continued their winning streak against in-state rivals Dallas Mavericks, by registering a 90-85 victory in the NBA playoffs opener. Veteran Tim Duncan spearheaded the Spurs attack and scored 27 points after overcoming from a brief injury scare.
Mavericks nearly pulled off an upset as they restricted Spurs from scoring three-pointers, which made the difference during their in-season meetings. But in the final seven-minute, Mavericks were restricted to just one field goal as Spurs rallied past them.
Tony Parker (21 points), Manu Ginobili (17 points) and Kawhi Leonard (11 points and 10 rebounds) also played crucial roles in Spurs' victory. Devin Harris was the top scorer for Mavericks with 19 points.
"Timmy, he's not going to score 24 a game or anything like that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's the base from which everything else occurs, whether he's scoring or not. It just gives us a comfort level and a point from which to operate. He plays (defense), rebounds, scores here and there. He just does his job."
Catch the highlights of the Spurs v Mavericks game HERE.
Miami Heat opened their championship quest with a come-from-behind win over Charlotte Bobcats in the first match of the playoffs. Miami, after trailing in the first quarter (23-19), made a terrific return in the second (19-30) to take the lead. The lead proved decisive, though Bobcats and Heat were evenly matched in the third quarter (23-23), while Miami wrapped the final set (23-27) to take the game.
The sharpshooting from James Jones played a crucial role, while MVP LeBron James (27 points) and Dwayne Wade (23 points) keep the Heat going in the seven-match series. Al Jefferson (19 points and 10 rebounds) and Kemba Walker (20 points) played strongly for Bobcats.
"That group that was in once I took that break at the 10-minute mark in the fourth quarter, they just bumped the lead," James said after the match. "Obviously, to have three Hall of Famers in the game when I'm out of the game, CB, D-Wade and Ray ... that was big-time."
Nene Hilario (24 points and eight rebounds) helped Washington Wizards beat Chicago Bulls 102-93 in the first match of the seven-game playoffs series. Wizards made a superb comeback from a 13-points deficit to win Game 1, thanks to Nene and Trevor Ariza (18 points).
After losing the first quarter 24-22, Bulls outplayed Wizards 24-32 in the second to take all important lead. Just when it looked that the fifth-seeded would be blown out of the postseason opener, John Wall (16 points) and Marcin Gortat (15 points and 13 rebounds) scripted a comeback for Wizards. Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin scored 16 points each, while Jimmy Butler came home with 15 points.
"You have to stay in the moment," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "There will be times in the playoffs where we have to survive and stay in the game with six or seven straight possessions and not score. Both teams can do that. Who is going to stay in the fight when you do that? We did. We had a period where they outplayed us, no question about it. We had to get that back, and in the second half, I thought we did."
Catch the highlights of Wizards v Bulls game HERE.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard lifted Portland Trail Blazers against Houston Rockets 122-120 in postseason Game 1. Trail Blazers, after erasing a 13 points shortfall, took the game into the overtime and registered a thrilling victory over Rockets.
In a physical contest, both teams scored 79 free throws but Trail Blazers capitalised on the crucial junctures to record win in their first playoff game since 2011. Trail Blazers, after winning the first quarter (27-20), went down in next two sets 21-29 and 25-30, respectively. Blazers won the final quarter 33-27 and took the game in overtime. Lillard scored five consecutive points with just one minute remaining on the clock to script a famous win.
Aldridge finished the game with two blocks and 18 rebounds, while Lillard added 31 points. For Rockets, James Harden scored 27 points, whereas Dwight Howard concluded with 27 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.