Top seeded Lakers and Bucks lose openers
Published 12:23 am Wednesday, August 19, 2020
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 34 points and the Portland Trail Blazers spoiled LeBron James’ first playoff appearance for the Los Angeles Lakers with a 100-93 victory on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the teams’ playoff series.
James had 23 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists for this 24th postseason triple-double. His assists were a career playoff high.
Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which led by as many as 16 points in the first half. The Lakers narrowed the advantage to 57-56 at the break and stayed close the rest of the way.
Trailing 78-75 going into the final period, the Lakers tied it at 78 on Kyle Kuzma’s 3-pointer. James’ layup gave Los Angeles the lead, and Kuzma added a pair of free throws and another layup to extend it to 84-78.
Lillard’s 3-pointer tied it at 87 with 5:46 to go and CJ McCollum’s floater gave Portland the lead.
MAGIC 122, BUCKS 110
Nikola Vucevic scored a playoff career-high 35 points and had 14 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic stunned the top-seeded Bucks in the playoff opener of the NBA’s pandemic-altered season.
Terrence Ross scored 18 points, Gary Clark added 15 and D.J. Augustin had 11 points and 11 assists for the eighth-seeded Magic, who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee, but was held without a field goal over the final 11 minutes.
The Bucks came into the postseason as the favorites to win their first NBA title since 1971 despite finishing 3-5 in seeding games. But their sluggish play in the NBA bubble at Disney World carried over into the postseason.
HEAT 113, PACERS 101
Jimmy Butler scored 28 points, Goran Dragic had 24 and the Heat beat the Pacers in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Heat pulled away in the closing minutes, long after the Pacers had lost star guard Victor Oladipo to an eye injury.
Bam Adebayo had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who were just a little bit better in a mostly even matchup between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, who were separated by a game in the standings in this pandemic-shortened season.
T,J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who will try to even the series on Thursday.
ROCKETS 123, THUNDER 108
James Harden had 37 points and 11 rebounds, and the Rockets rolled past the Thunder in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Houston All-Star Russell Westbrook, who played his previous 11 years with the Thunder, was out with a quad injury. The fourth-seeded Rockets still made 20 3-pointers and shot 48% from the field.
Jeff Green scored 22 points and Eric Gordon added 21 for Houston, which isn’t sure how long it will be without Westbrook.
Danilo Gallinari matched a playoff career high with 29 points for the fifth-seeded Thunder. Chris Paul, who joined the Oklahoma City in the trade that sent Westbrook to Houston, finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Steven Adams added 17 points and 12 rebounds.