NBA roundup: Top seeds fall in playoff openers
Damian Lillard scored 34 points, and the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers defeated the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 in Game 1 of their Western Conference opening-round matchup on Tuesday in the NBA bubble near Orlando.
CJ McCollum had 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Blazers. Carmelo Anthony added 11 points and 10 rebounds while Hassan Whiteside collected five blocks to go along with eight rebounds and seven points.
Anthony Davis finished with 28 points and 11 boards while LeBron James had 23 points, 17 boards and 16 assists for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma chipped in 14 points.
Gary Trent Jr.’s 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining gave the Blazers a 98-93 edge after a dunk by Davis allowed the Lakers to close within two. A slam by Nurkic sealed it for Portland, which has won six of its past seven in the bubble.
Orlando Magic 122 – Milwaukee Bucks 110
Nikola Vucevic scored 35 points to propel eighth-seeded Orlando to a surprising victory over top-seeded Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Orlando got off to a fast start to take a double-digit lead, then held off the Bucks’ second-half runs. The Magic shot 49.4 percent and made 16 3-pointers against a Milwaukee defense that was rated the NBA’s best during the regular season. Orlando reached those marks with second-leading scorer Evan Fournier held scoreless until hitting three key 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the frontrunner to repeat as NBA MVP, finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. Vucevic, an All-Star, added 14 rebounds and four assists.
Houston Rockets 123 – Oklahoma City Thunder 108
James Harden scored 37 points to lift Houston to a win over Oklahoma City in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series. Harden shot 12 of 22 from the field and added 11 rebounds.
Without Russell Westbrook for the fifth time in six games, the Rockets had few problems getting going offensively, combining for 76 points in the second and third quarters.
Danilo Gallinari led the Thunder with 29 points. Chris Paul, who was traded from Houston to Oklahoma City for Westbrook in the offseason, added 20 after missing all five of his first-quarter shots. Paul also contributed 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Miami Heat 113 – Indiana Pacers 101
Tyler Herro’s jumper with 8:52 remaining broke a tie and Miami ran away for a win over Indiana in the opener of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Jimmy Butler went for a game-high 28 points and Goran Dragic 24 — including four key hoops down the stretch — for Miami, which beat the Pacers for the second time in three meetings since the NBA restart.
T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 22 points apiece for Indiana, which beat Miami 109-92 last Friday to earn the higher seeding in the matchup.