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Apr 22, 2024 1:21 am

NBA roundup: Thunder escape upset, clip Pelicans

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 28 points to lift the host Oklahoma City Thunder to a thrilling 94-92 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday in Game 1 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City experienced a stretch of five-plus minutes without a field goal as the Pelicans went up 90-88. But then Gilgeous-Alexander turned things around.

First, he hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game with 1:36 remaining, then fought through traffic — and a foul — to hit a floater, sinking the ensuing free throw to give the Thunder a 93-90 edge with 32.5 seconds to play.

With 14 seconds left, the Pelicans, down 94-92, had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but Cason Wallace locked in defensively on CJ McCollum, first reaching out for a deflection, then keeping him from getting a clean look. McCollum’s potential game-winner missed the mark with 1.3 seconds to go.

Trey Murphy III led New Orleans with 21 points, McCollum added 20 and Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and 20 rebounds. Jalen Williams added 19 points for Oklahoma City.

Bucks 109, Pacers 94

Damian Lillard scored all 35 of his points in the first half as host Milwaukee turned back Indiana in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Lillard made 11 of 24 shots from the floor and 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Khris Middleton collected 23 points, 15 in the second half, for the Bucks, who will host Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Pascal Siakam recorded 36 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who missed their first 14 attempts from 3-point range and finished 8-for-38 from beyond the arc. Myles Turner added 17 points and eight rebounds.

Celtics 114, Heat 94

Jayson Tatum finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Boston capitalized on a fast start to defeat visiting Miami in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

The top-seeded Celtics, who scored the game’s first 14 points, made 22 of 49 attempts from 3-point range (44.9 percent), while eighth-seeded Miami was 12 of 37 (32.4 percent) from distance. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday in Boston.

Derrick White added 20 points for the Celtics. Miami’s Bam Adebayo led all scorers with 24 points, while Delon Wright came off the bench to score 17 and Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 16.

Clippers 109, Mavericks 97

James Harden scored 28 points and Ivica Zubac set his playoff career high with 20 while adding 15 rebounds as Los Angeles made a statement in Game 1 of a first-round Western Conference series with a victory over visiting Dallas.

The Clippers were playing without star Kawhi Leonard because of knee inflammation, but they had plenty to get past the Mavericks, getting 22 points from Paul George and 13 apiece from Terance Mann and Russell Westbrook.

Luka Doncic scored 33 points to go along with 13 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving added 31 points for Dallas. Los Angeles’ high-level defense was present from the start, holding the Mavericks to just eight points in the second quarter and 30 in the first half.

–Field Level Media

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