The second day of NBA Playoffs First Round games served up more of the same dramatic and explosive action for basketball fans. The Warriors showed no signs of slowing down, the Bulls were fired up, Harden led the Rockets with distinction and the Wizards made a statement.
Butler leads Bulls to victory over Celtics
The focus before the opening First Round matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls was Isaiah Thomas, whose sister had died in a car wreck early on Saturday morning. The grief-stricken Thomas decided to take to the court and played Game 1. However the Bulls and Jimmy Butler came to win and they did just that, beating the hosts 106-102. Butler was fired up and scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Bobby Portis scored 19 points off the bench and also claimed nine rebounds. Robin Lopez finished with a double-double 14 points and 11 rebounds. Former Celtic Rajon Rondo scored 12 points and Dwyane Wade ended with 11.
Despite his personal tragedy Thomas played well and top-scored with 33 points. Al Horford weighed in with 19 points of his own, also claiming seven rebounds and dishing eight assists. Avery Bradley finished the contest with 14 points, but the rest of the team failed to score in double-digits.
Durant shines bright as Warriors down Blazers
Kevin Durant didn’t show any signs of rust as he led the way for the Golden State Warriors who beat the Portland Trail Blazers 121-109 in the first of their Western Conference First Round showdowns. Durant had a 32-point, 10-rebound double-double. Stephen Curry was also red-hot in the game scoring 29 points. Draymond Green had a superb outing as he fell an assist shy of a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing nine assists. Klay Thompson ended with 15 points.
The Trail Blazers were lead by a superb CJ McCollum who had the game’s high-score, 41 points. Damian Lillard also shone bright with 34 points. Evan Turner had a double-double 12 points and 10 rebounds. Liberian-American Noah Vonleh scored two points, claimed five boards and had four assists. Nigerian Al-Farouq Aminu didn’t score but he pulled down three rebounds.
Harden shines and Westbrook toils in battle of MVP candidates
The Houston Rockets made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round battle. The Rockets won 118-87 as they dominated in both attack and defense with MVP candidates and friends James Harden and Russell Westbrook going to-to-toe. Harden was world-class as he scored 37 points, dished nine assists, grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals. Patrick Beverley had a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double and Nene Hilario scored 15 points. Angolan/Congolese-Swiss center Clint Capela scored 14 points, pulled down seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
Westbrook ended the contest as the Thunder’s top scorer with 22 points, completing a double-double with 11 boards and he also dished seven assists. Andre Roberson was the next highest scorer with 18 points and Jerami Grant scored 10 points. Nigerian-American Victor Oladipo finished with six points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.
Wizards’ Wall stands tall in Game 1
The Washington Wizards were too good for the visiting Atlanta Hawks as they won Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round battle 114-107. John Wall was locked in as he ended the game with a double-double, 32 points and 14 assists. His backcourt teammate Bradley Beal scored 22 points. Markieff Morris scored 21 points, grabbed seven boards and blocked four shots. Marcin Gortat also doubled up with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Gambian-German speedster Dennis Schröder was Atlanta’s main man as he lead them with 25 points. Paul Millsap scored19 points and Taurean Prince added 14 points to the team score. Kent Bazemore scored 12 points off the bench and Dwight Howard only scored seven points but pulled down 14 rebounds. South African-Swiss forward Thabo Sefolosha did not play.
By Cyrus Rogers