Six Celtics score in double figures as they cruises past Heat 114-94

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, center, passes the ball over Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin, right, in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, center, passes the ball over Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin, right, in the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston.AP Photo

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum notched his first career playoff triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics past the Miami Heat 114-94 on Sunday to open their first-round playoff series.

Derrick White added 20 points and four assists for Boston, which finished with six players in double-figures.

Miami spoiled the Celtics’ NBA finals dreams last season, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the conference finals and then blowing them out in Boston in Game 7.

But Boston fed off the energy of the TD Garden crowd on Sunday, knocking down 22 3-pointers and outscoring the Heat 31-14 in the third quarter. The Celtics’ lead grew as high as 34 points in the fourth. Miami used a late run to get as close as 14, but Boston was able to close it out.

Including the regular season, Boston is 38-4 at home and has won its past four meetings with the Heat.

Bam Adebayo scored 24 points for the Miami, which played for the second straight game without star Jimmy Butler following his right knee injury during the play-in round. Terry Rozier also remained out with a neck injury. Delon Wright added 17 points. Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 16 points.

Game 2 is Wednesday in Boston.


LOS ANGELES — James Harden scored 28 points, Ivica Zubac had a double-double and Los Angeles defeated Luka Doncic and Dallas to win their playoff series opener..

Harden hit 6 of 11 3-pointers and had eight assists. Zubac’s 20 points were a playoff career high to go with 15 rebounds. Paul George added 22 points. The Clippers outdid the Mavs at their own 3-point game, making 18 of 36 from long range to 10 of 33 for Dallas.

The Clippers had five players in double figures without Kawhi Leonard. The two-time NBA Finals MVP hasn’t played since March 31 because of inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee.

The teams were meeting in the playoffs for the third time in five years, with the Clippers having won both previous series.

Doncic led the Mavs with 33 points and 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 31 points and seven rebounds, but the Mavs got little from their supporting cast.

Trailing by 22, the Mavs outscored the Clippers 10-2 to close to 102-88. Dallas was helped by a technical on Zubac and a flagrant-1 foul for his subsequent actions after a second free throw attempt by Doncic. In all, it cost the Clippers four points after Doncic scored when the Mavs retained possession.

But Harden hit another 3-pointer, George scored four in a row and the Clippers closed out the win.


MILWAUKEE — Damian Lillard scored all 35 of his points before halftime and Milwaukee withstood the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo to defeat Indiana in their Eastern Conference playoff opener.

The Bucks needed Lillard to step up without Antetokounmpo, whose return date is uncertain as he deals with a strained left calf that also caused him to miss Milwaukee’s final three regular-season games.

With Antetokounmpo watching from the bench, Lillard came through by setting a Bucks record for points in either half of a playoff game.

Pascal Siakam had 36 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who hadn’t scored fewer than 99 points in the regular season while averaging a league-high 123.3 points per game. The Pacers shot 8 of 39 from 3-point range.

Indiana is making its first playoff appearance since 2020 and is seeking to get beyond the opening round for the first time since 2014.

Khris Middleton had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, while Bobby Portis added 15 points and 11 rebounds.


OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 28 points, including the go-ahead basket in the final minute, and top-seeded Oklahoma City edged New Orleans in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

New Orleans’ CJ McCollum missed an off-balance 3-pointer in the closing seconds and the Thunder held on to win their first home playoff game since 2019.

Jalen Williams scored 19 points and Chet Holmgren added 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Thunder, who will host Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Trey Murphy III scored 21 points and McCollum added 20 for the Pelicans. Zion Williamson, New Orleans’ leading scorer in the regular season, sat out with a strained left hamstring.

Gilgeous-Alexander made an off-balance jumper with 32.5 seconds left to break a 90-all tie and was fouled on the play. With the crowd chanting “M-V-P!” Gilgeous-Alexander made the free throw to put Oklahoma City ahead 93-90.

McCollum’s mid-range jumper made it 93-92.

Holmgren was fouled with 14 seconds left. He missed the first free throw and made the second to put the Thunder ahead 94-92 and set up McCollum’s final shot. (AP)


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