Defending NBA champion the Golden State Warriors overcame the Houston Rockets in its Western Conference semifinal opener, while the Boston Celtics upstaged the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kevin Durant continued his strong NBA playoff form on Sunday, scoring 35 points to lead the Warriors to a 104-100 victory against the Rockets in Game 1.
The 10-time All-Star, who averaged 35 points per game in the Warriors' first-round series win against the Los Angeles Clippers, hit 11-of-25 shots against Houston.
On a day when Stephen Curry (18 points) battled foul trouble and Klay Thompson had a quiet 13 points, Golden State needed all Durant could offer. Yet the game was not decided until the final seconds.
With the Rockets trailing by three points with 10 seconds remaining, James Harden launched an errant three-point attempt. Chris Paul grabbed the rebound, but had the ball stripped away. Eric Gordon recovered the ball out of bounds.
But Paul, arguing with an official that he had been fouled on the play, was called for a technical. Curry hit the free throw for the final margin.
In Sunday's first game, the Celtics shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks for a 112-90 triumph in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Celtics frustrated Antetokounmpo, limiting him to seven-of-21 shooting, as Boston drew first blood in Milwaukee.
Nothing came easy for Antetokounmpo, who scored 22 but had a game-low minus-24.
On the offensive end, the Bucks had no answer for Kyrie Irving, who scored 26 points and added 11 assists. Horford posted 20 and Jaylen Brown pitched in 19.
Gordon, Green impress
Rockets guard Gordon scored 27 on 10-of-19 shooting for the Rockets.
Draymond Green missed only two of nine shots, scored 14 and had nine rebounds and assists.
Harden scored 35, but hit only nine-of-27 shots from the field, and four-of-16 three-pointers.
Bucks guard Pat Connaughton made only two-of-10 shots and one of his seven three-point attempts.
Horford denies Giannis… twice!
You do not see Antetokounmpo get rejected very often — let alone twice on the same play by Horford.
76ers at Raptors
The Toronto Raptors won Game 1 rather easily, but recall that the Philadelphia 76ers had an uninspiring performance in its Eastern Conference first-round series opener against the Brooklyn Nets. Kawhi Leonard scored a career playoff-high 45 points on Saturday, and the 76ers certainly can do a better job than that on the defensive end.