CLEVELAND : More than hour after his first playoff game with LeBron James and Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving made a statement more profound than anything he did on the floor.
Irving scored 30 points in his playoff debut, James added 20 in his first postseason game with Cleveland in five years and Love shook off a slow start to record a double-double, leading the Cavaliers to a 113-100 victory in Game 1 over the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
Irving made five 3-pointers and Love, another postseason rookie, added 19 points – 13 in the second half – and 12 rebounds
James was proud of how his teammates handled their first venture onto the playoff stage.
It was Cleveland’s first home playoff game since May 11, 2010, when the Celtics won Game 5 and James left the floor to some boos from Cavaliers fans. He departed for Miami two months later, but he’s home now, all is forgiven and Cleveland is aiming to end a championship drought dating to 1964.Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points to lead the seventh-seeded Celtics.
The Cavs built a 20-point lead in the third quarter, let the Celtics get as close as six and then finished the quarter with a 9-0 run – capped a 3-pointer by James Jones – to take a 15-point lead into the fourth. Boston climbed within 10 in the final 12 minutes, but Love made a crucial 3-pointer with 3:32 left to slow Boston.
In the days leading up to the opener, James said he was confident Irving and Love would be ready for the playoffs. Irving said four days of preparation helped the Cavs get ready, and while he and Love didn’t say they were nervous, they both seemed relieved to have the opener behind them.
Boston led by eight in the first quarter, but got careless with the ball and finished with 14 turnovers – 13 after the first quarter.They will try to even the best-of-7 series in Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Griffin lead Clippers past Spurs, Grizzlies rout Trail Blazers
LOS ANGELES: Blake Griffin accelerated through the paint and threw down a vicious dunk right on Aron Baynes’ head in the third quarter. A few minutes later, Griffin did it again to the same poor San Antonio center.
After three years of early-round failures, the Los Angeles Clippers are hungry for their first major taste of postseason success. As Griffin proved, they’ll jump all over the defending champion Spurs as many times as necessary to advance.
Chris Paul scored 32 points, Griffin added 26 points and 12 rebounds, and the Clippers surged in the second half for a 107-92 victory Sunday night in their first-round series opener.
Jamal Crawford added 17 points as the Clippers stayed comfortably ahead down the stretch, meeting the defending champs’ challenge to start off a difficult postseason-opening matchup for two powerful teams.
Paul and Griffin took control in the third quarter with a 24-10 run. Griffin got his roof-raising, back-to-back dunks off pick-and-roll plays, throwing down in vintage Lob City style after avoiding some acrobatic dunks this season to protect his health.
Tony Parker rolled his ankle early on and managed just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting for the Spurs, who slipped to the sixth seed in the Western Conference in their season finale. That loss at New Orleans forced them to open their chase of their sixth NBA title against the hungry Clippers, who have never reached a conference final.
Both teams headed into the postseason with enormous momentum: Los Angeles won 14 of its final 15 games to finish with 56 victories and the NBA’s third-best record, while San Antonio won 14 of 16 and 11 straight before the season finale.
Los Angeles Clippers leads the best of 7 series 1-0.
MEMPHIS: Beno Udrih is doing his best to make sure the Memphis Grizzlies can ease Mike Conley and Tony Allen back into the lineup from their injuries.
Udrih scored 20 points in the best playoff game of his career, and the Grizzlies never trailed in routing the Portland Trail Blazers 100-86 on Sunday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round series.
Udrih hit his first six shots coming off the bench late in the first quarter, and he allowed Conley to sit the entire fourth quarter in his first game back after missing four with a sprained right foot. In his 44th career playoff game, Udrih finished with seven assists and seven rebounds – the first reserve to do that in the postseason since Nick Van Exel in May 10, 2003, for Dallas at Sacramento.
Randolph had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Marc Gasol added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Conley finished with 16 points and didn’t play the fourth quarter. Jeff Green had 11.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 32 points while taking more shots than anyone had ever taken against Memphis in the postseason, going 13 of 34. Damian Lillard added 14 points, shooting 5 of 21 overall and 0 of 6 beyond the arc. Nicolas Batum had 15 points. The Trail Blazers have lost five straight overall.
Portland had its worst shooting performance this season and looked out of synch from the start. Aldridge and Lillard combined to shoot 3 of 15 in the first quarter, and Aldridge even fell to the court when missing a dunk off an inbound lob at one point. It didn’t get much better as Batum threw the ball to the sideline missing Robin Lopez in the third.
Game 2 is on wednesday night in Memphis; Memphis leads the best of 7 series by 1-0.
Cleveland Cavaliers 113 beat Boston Celtics 100, Atlanta Hawks 99 beat Brooklyn Nets 92, Memphis Grizzlies 100 beat Portland Trailblazers 86, Los Angeles Clippers 107 beat San Antonio Spurs 92
This press release has been made available to us from NBA India.