HOUSTON (AP) — The Utah Jazz tried to force the left-handed James Harden to his right to make things more difficult on him on Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
Didn't matter much to Harden and the Rockets though. He still led the team in scoring and helped facilitate solid offensive nights from everyone else in the starting lineup in the lopsided win.
Harden had 29 points and 10 assists to help the Rockets rout the Jazz 122-90 in the opener of the best-of-seven series.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes, and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks showed they were serious about making a playoff run with a 121-86 rout of the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 on Sunday night.
The MVP candidate ran and dunked all over the Pistons, who only really caught him when center Andre Drummond shoved him to the ground with both hands late in the third quarter after Antetokounmpo grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 points.
Drummond was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. He threw a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he was escorted off the court.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — After eight straight playoff losses over the past two years, the Portland Trail Blazers finally got a win.
Damian Lillard scored 30 points and the third-seeded Blazers opened their series against the No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday with a 104-99 victory.
"We know how it feels to win again," Lillard said. "Now we can just kind of move on from that and stay focused on this series."
BOSTON (AP) — The Celtics have been at their best this season when they are forcing turnovers, spacing the floor and knocking down outside shots.
They found out in their Game 1 win over the Pacers that they are equipped to win an ugly, physical game as well.
Irving and Marcus Morris each scored 20 points, and the Boston rallied in the second half to the beat Indiana Pacers 84-74 on Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
PHOENIX (AP) — John MacLeod, the longtime NBA coach who led the Phoenix Suns to the 1976 NBA Finals, has died. He was 81.
MacLeod's son, Matt, confirmed his father's death Sunday to The Associated Press. The elder MacLeod fought Alzheimer's disease for more than a decade.
MacLeod is the winningest coach in Suns history, going 579-543 in the regular season from 1973-87. He also coached the Dallas Mavericks from 1987-89 and the New York Knicks in 1990-91, finishing his 18-year head coaching career with a 707-657 mark.