The remaining series in the first round of the NBA postseason begin on Tuesday from ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. The day’s Game 1 action will be updated here throughout the day.
Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers upset Lakers
Damian Lillard got his team into the postseason at Walt Disney World.
He’s not stopping now.
Lillard dropped a game-high 34 points and had six 3-pointers — including a bucket from just inside the halfcourt logo late in the fourth — to lead the Trail Blazers past LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 on Tuesday night.
The win marked the second time a No. 8 seed knocked off a No. 1 seed on Tuesday, following the Orlando Magic’s upset win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The last time that happened in Game 1 was in 2003.
LeBron James still had a historic outing in his postseason debut with the Lakers, putting up 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, marking the 24th career triple-double in the postseason and the most assists he’s had in a playoff game. He’s the first player in league history with a 20-point, 15-rebound and 15 assist triple-double in the playoffs, too.
Harden pours in 37 as Rockets top Thunder
James Harden was at the forefront of a barrage of 3-point shooting as the Houston Rockets easily dispatched the Oklahoma City Thunder 123-108 in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer, poured in 37 points to lead all scorers, connecting on six of his 13 treys in the process. Harden wasn’t the only prolific Rocket from deep. Jeff Green, P.J. Tucker, Ben McLemore and Eric Gordon combined for 12 triples on the evening and all joined Harden with double-digit scoring efforts.
Green had an especially strong game off the bench, tying his season-high with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also chipped in six rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes. Gordon had 21 while McLemore and Tucker added 14 and 11, respectively.
In all, the Rockets connected on 20 of their 52 tries from deep, an effort that helped them jump out to a 16-point halftime lead and never look back.
On the Oklahoma City side, Danilo Gallinari led the way with 29 points and was joined atop the scoring column by Chris Paul and Steven Adams, both of whom contributed double-doubles. Paul had 20 points, 10 rebounds and was an assist away from a triple-double. Adams pitched in 17 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds in the loss.
Butler, Dragic help Heat pull away from Pacers
If Game 1 was any indication, the first-round series between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers is going to be a doozy.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was the Heat who emerged with the early series edge thanks to a 113-101 victory. Miami was propelled by 14 fourth-quarter points from Goran Dragic and two late triples from Jimmy Butler, expanding what was just a one-point advantage after three quarters into a 12-point victory.
Miami led by four at halftime and kept Indiana at arm’s length throughout the third. The Pacers, though, never went away and eventually shrunk the margin to just one, 81-80, entering the fourth. In the end, though, it was Dragic whose early fourth-quarter flurry created some separation and Butler who put the game on ice.
Butler, just a 24 percent shooter from long distance, hit back-to-back treys to extend the Heat’s lead from six to 12 with 2:29 to play. Those two 3-pointers were the first two for Butler since the NBA season resumed in the Orlando bubble. Butler would add another late bucket with just under a minute to play to put the game out of reach.
Butler scored 10 of Miami’s final 12 points and finished the afternoon with a game-high 28 points. Dragic pitched in 24 while big man Bam Adebayo posted a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks) and rookie Tyler Herro added 15 off the bench.
T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who were forced to play the second half without star Victor Oladipo. Oladipo was poked in the eye in the first quarter and did not return.
Magic upset Bucks in Game 1
Maybe the Milwaukee Bucks aren’t a lock for the NBA Finals after all. The Orlando Magic came out strong Tuesday, upsetting the Bucks 122-110 to take Game 1 of the series.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic was a major problem for the Bucks. Vucevic, 29, went 15-24 from the field, dropping 35 points on Milwaukee. Vucevic also added 13 rebounds, picking up a double-double.
While Giannis Antetokounmpo still put up points, the rest of the Bucks were held in check. Antetokounmpo, 25, finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds. Khris Middleton — who finished second on the team in points per game during the regular season — struggled from the field, going 4-12. He finished with 14 points. Brook Lopez also struggled, putting up 5 points on 2-9 shooting.
The Bucks may have dropped Game 1, but the series isn’t over. The Magic did the exact same thing last season, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. The Raptors went on to win that series, and carried that momentum all the way to a championship.
The Bucks — who entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference — will look to even things up during Game 2 on Thursday.
Celtics-76ers: Celtics lose Hayward to right ankle injury
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a Grade III right ankle sprain in Monday’s Game 1 win against the Philadelphia 76ers and is expected to miss about four weeks, the team announced Tuesday.
Hayward suffered the injury in the fourth quarter after landing on teammate Daniel Theis’ foot. He left the arena in crutches and was not putting weight on the foot on Tuesday, per Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
Just spotted Gordon Hayward walking into the Celtics meal room. On crutches. A boot on his right foot/ankle. Putting no pressure on it.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) August 18, 2020
This is not the same ankle Hayward injured in devastating fashion six minutes into his Celtics debut in October 2018, but it is still serious enough to sideline him for about a month. The Eastern Conference finals are scheduled to begin around Sept. 15, so it is possible Hayward could return to the playoff floor if Boston makes it that far. However, Hayward’s wife, Robyn, is due to have the couple’s fourth child in September, and Hayward has said he plans to leave the NBA bubble if their child is born during the postseason.
Conley returns to bubble to rejoin Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. returned to the NBA’s Orlando bubble on Monday night and could return to the floor for Game 3 of their first-round series with the Denver Nuggets, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Conley left on Sunday for the birth of his son. He missed Utah’s playoff opener on Monday, a 135-125 overtime loss to Denver. Conley must pass four coronavirus tests on consecutive days to be cleared from quarantine to play in Friday’s Game 3. The Jazz and Nuggets are scheduled to play Game 2 on Wednesday.
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