Monday 18 December 2017 / 08:39 AM

NBA PLAYOFFS WRAP: BUCKS, BULLS GRAB GAME 1 UPSETS

The opening games for all eight first-round series have been run and won. Here’s how it all played out in the NBA over the past two days.

GAME 1: PACERS 108-109 CAVALIERS 

Cavaliers lead 1-0

The Cavaliers kicked off the playoffs section of their title defence with a nervy one-point win over a surging Pacers side. The Cavs had built an eight-point lead by the end of the third quarter, but the Pacers’ 24-17 final term had pulses racing in Cleveland. CJ Miles’ 14-foot jumper on the buzzer missed, leaving the Pacers to contemplate would could have been. LeBron top-scored with 32 points in his 200th playoffs appearance, but the champs will need more from King James if they’re to bust out of their late-season funk. 

GAME 1: BUCKS 97-83 RAPTORS

Bucks lead 1-0

The Raptors’ chances of a playoffs rematch with the Cavaliers took an early nosedive courtesy of a Giannis Antetokounmpo-inspired Bucks side at Air Canada Center. The ‘Greek Freak’ scored 28 points in a wildly fluctuating contest that saw the Bucks lead by eight at the end of the first quarter and trail by five at halftime, before reclaiming a five-point lead with a quarter to go and going on with the job. It was the Raptors’ eighth straight Game 1 loss in a playoffs series. 

GAME 1: GRIZZLIES 82-111 SPURS

Spurs lead 1-0

The Spurs’ MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard steered his side to a 29-point drubbing of the Grizzlies to get what shapes as a one-sided series underway. Memphis led by five at the end of the first quarter but were hopelessly outclassed for the rest of the game, with Leonard tallying 32 points to equal his personal playoffs record.

GAME 1: JAZZ 97-95 CLIPPERS

 Jazz lead 1-0

Jazz veteran Joe Johnson hit a floater at the buzzer to snatch a thrilling win over the Clippers at Staples Center. The visitors lost Rudy Gobert to a knee injury in the opening seconds of the game, but they managed to head into the final term with a four-point lead. Overtime loomed when Chris Paul levelled the scores with 13 seconds left, but the 35-year-old Johnson – who joined Utah from Miami this season – drove the lane to come up with the decisive basket.

GAME 1: HAWKS 107-114 WIZARDS

Wizards lead 1-0

John Wall’s career year continued in style, starting with a playoffs-best 32 points in the Wizards’ solid home win over the Hawks. The visitors led by three at halftime, but the Wizards dominated with a 38-28 third quarter to take a stranglehold on the contest. Playoffs debutant Markieff Morris also starred with 21 points and 7 rebounds.

GAME 1: TRAIL BLAZERS 109-121 WARRIORS

Warriors lead 1-0

Golden State pulled away late from Portland at Oracle Arena, winning by 12 points after the scores were locked at the end of the third quarter. Draymond Green was the star for the title favourites, producing 19 points, 12 boards, nine assists, three steals and five blocks in an outstanding all-round display. The Blazers’ backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 75 points, but the strong contribution of Kevin Durant (32 points on 12-for-20 shooting) – along with Green’s stellar effort – proved crucial.

GAME 1: BULLS 106-102 CELTICS

Bulls lead 1-0

The eighth-seed Bulls caused arguably the boilover of the playoff openers, with Jimmy Butler – who scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half – leading the underdogs to victory at TD Garden after they trailed by two points at halftime. Isaiah Thomas, whose sister was tragically killed in a car accident only a day earlier, top-scored for the Celtics with 33 points on an emotional night in Boston.

GAME 1: THUNDER 87-118 ROCKETS

Rockets lead 1-0

James Harden emphatically won his first individual battle with MVP rival Russell Westbrook of these playoffs, scoring 37 points in leading the Rockets to an emphatic home win. The Thunder led by two at the end of the first quarter but were dominated thereafter, and trailed by 12 at the end of the third term. Westbrook was restricted to just 22 points.

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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