Los Angeles, April 15: The Toronto Raptors survived an Eastern Conference game-one scare from the Washington Wizards, while reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors accounted for the San Antonio Spurs.
Leading by just one point entering the fourth quarter, the top-seeded Raptors – spurred by Delon Wright – won 114-106 in Toronto on Saturday (April 14).
Wright came off the bench and scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with 23 points on eight-of-11 shooting and 12 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan added 17 points, and Kyle Lowry had 11 points and nine assists.
Toronto featured nine players with at least nine points on Saturday, including rookie first-round pick OG Anunoby's 12 points on five-of-nine shooting.
John Wall led the Wizards with 23 points, 15 assists and four steals. Markieff Morris added 22 points with 11 rebounds and six assists.
Meanwhile, the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers surged past the Miami Heat 130-103 in the opening game of their first-round clash.
Philadelphia outscored Miami by 31 points in the second half to extend their winning streak to 17 games.
Sharpshooters J.J. Redick (28 points) and Marco Belinelli (25 points) led the 76ers in Philadelphia, while star Ben Simmons (17 points and 14 assists) finished with a double-double.
THOMPSON, DURANT GIVE WARRIORS FIRST BLOOD
Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant led the Warriors to a 113-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Thompson scored 27 points while draining five of six from three-point range. Durant added 24 points with eight rebounds and seven assists. Despite playing without Stephen Curry, the Warriors looked dynamic on offense and defense.
New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis scored 35 points with 14 rebounds in a 97-95 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland outscored New Orleans 32-22 in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans held on thanks to Davis' presence on offense and defense.
ALDRIDGE UNABLE TO LIFT SPURS
It is not fair to put all of the blame on LaMarcus Aldridge, but the All-Star forward scored just 14 points with two rebounds in Saturday's loss to the Warriors. With little offensive weapons helping him in San Antonio, Aldridge will have to do more to give the Spurs any chance of winning a game this series.
BELINELLI SINKS AN UNLIKELY THREE
Unbalanced, Italian Belinelli somehow managed to drain a three-pointer.
The Cleveland Cavaliers went through ups and down, roster changes and what ifs during the regular season, but LeBron James has this young, energetic group ready for another long playoff run.
The Indiana Pacers surprised this season after offloading Paul George to Oklahoma City. Victor Oladipo emerged as a star and leader, while Myles Turner can be a handful in the paint. Indiana have the firepower to make a run, but they drew a tough first-round matchup.