The Boston Celtics have been at their finest this season when they’re forcing turnovers, spacing the ground and flattening exterior photographs.
They discovered in their win at residence towards the Pacers that they had been outfitted to win an unsightly, bodily recreation as properly.
Irving and Marcus Morris every scored 20 factors, and the Celtics rallied in the second half to beat the Indiana Pacers, 84-74, on Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff collection.
Jayson Tatum completed with 15 factors for fourth-seeded Boston, and Al Horford added 10 factors and 11 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward had 10 factors. It was the primary playoff recreation since 2017 for Irving and Hayward after every missed final yr’s postseason with accidents.
“I just try to be aggressive on the ball, be in the right spots,” Irving mentioned. “I just really want to be aggressive and really be the head of the snake.”
Game 2 is Wednesday evening in Boston.
The fifth-seeded Pacers led by 11 factors in the primary half however had simply eight in the third quarter. The Celtics capitalized and led by as many as 22 in the fourth. Indiana completed with a season-worst 29 factors in the second half.
Cory Joseph had 14 factors for the Pacers, and Bojan Bogdanovic was their lone starter in double figures with 12 factors.
Both groups shot worse than 40 p.c from the sphere. Boston hit simply 36 p.c (28 of 77) and had 20 turnovers. Indiana linked on 33 p.c of its photographs (28 of 84) and turned the ball over 13 instances.
The Celtics’ 84 factors had been their fewest of the season; it was the primary time Boston scored fewer than 100 factors and gained.
“We held them to 84 points,” Indiana’s Wesley Matthews mentioned. “We just didn’t score enough.”
BUCKS 121, PISTONS 86 Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 factors and 17 rebounds in simply 24 minutes, and top-seeded Milwaukee routed eighth-seeded Detroit in their East opener.
Antetokounmpo ran and dunked everywhere in the visiting Pistons, who caught him solely when middle Andre Drummond shoved him to the bottom late in the third quarter after Antetokounmpo grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 factors.
Drummond was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. He threw a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he was escorted off the courtroom.
Antetokounmpo struggled on the free-throw line, making solely 5 of 12 makes an attempt, however was 9 for 17 from the sphere and 1 of 5 from Three-point vary.
Luke Kennard paced the Pistons with 21 factors off the bench, and Drummond had 12 factors and 12 rebounds. Detroit performed with out ahead Blake Griffin, who has a left knee damage.
TRAIL BLAZERS 104, THUNDER 99 Damian Lillard scored 30 factors and third-seeded Portland opened its Western Conference collection towards sixth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder with a win at residence.
Enes Kanter added 20 factors and a profession playoff-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who’re making their sixth straight postseason look however had misplaced eight video games in a row over the earlier two postseasons. C J McCollum added 24 factors.
Russell Westbrook had 24 factors, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth profession postseason triple-double. Paul George, who was a game-time resolution due to a sore shoulder, added 26 factors and 10 rebounds after a sluggish begin.
Portland led by as many as 19 factors in the primary half, however the Thunder pulled to 80-77 early in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City couldn’t get nearer, and Lillard hit a 30-footer to lengthen the Blazers’ lead to 89-81 with 6 minutes 38 seconds left.
Westbrook appeared to damage his proper knee or ankle and grimaced whereas making an attempt to stroll it off. Trainers attended to him on the bench on the subsequent timeout however he returned and his layup closed the hole to 91-87 with just below four minutes left.