Oladipo scores 32 points, Pacers stun LeBron, Cavs
CLEVELAND (AP) — Victor Oladipo scored 32 points and the Indiana Pacers held off Cleveland’s second-half rally for a stunning 98-80 victory Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series, handing LeBron James and the Cavaliers’ their first loss in the opening round in eight years.
Indiana was in control from the outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and leading by 23 in the third. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71.
The Pacers completely outplayed the three-time defending conference champions, whose turbulent regular season has carried over into the playoffs.
Game 2 is Wednesday night.
James scored 24 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th career triple-double. But James got little help as Cleveland’s four other starters — Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and George Hill — combined for 25 points.
This is all new to James, who had won 21 consecutive first-round games and lost a postseason for the first time in his 13th playoffs. The 33-year-old is trying to get to his eighth straight Finals, and already the path is tougher than imagined.
ROCKETS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 101
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed Houston to outlast Minnesota in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
Minnesota scored four straight points to get within 3 with about 30 seconds left. Chris Paul added two free throws after that for Houston, but a tip-in by Karl-Anthony Towns got Minnesota back within 3. After a bad pass by Paul gave Minnesota a chance to tie with 1.5 seconds left, Jimmy Butler’s shot was short.
The top-seeded Rockets had their hands full with the No. 8 Timberwolves on a night where Houston made just 10 of 37 3-pointers. Harden made 7 of 12 3-pointers, but Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Paul combined to make just 3 of their 22 tries.
THUNDER 116, JAZZ 108
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul George scored 36 points to help Oklahoma City beat Utah in Game 1 of the Western Conference series.
George set an Oklahoma City playoff record with eight 3-pointers, blowing past the previous record of five. He made 8 of 11 shots from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall. It was his first playoff game with the Thunder since being acquired in a trade with Indiana in the offseason.
Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the Thunder Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but he left in the second half with left foot soreness. He returned in the fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbling.