NBA Playoffs Roundup: April 20-21, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I am getting more and more invested in the 2015 NBA Playoffs. The Cavs survived a slow start to turn back Boston, the Nets gave the Hawks some fits, and the Clips and Grizz manhandled their respective foes. That was just yesterday. Today, Jimmy Buckets starred as Chicago went up 2-0 against Milwaukee, while the Dubs’ late surge enabled them to subdue the feisty Pelicans.

Game Capsules from The Sports Network:

April 19, 2015:
Cleveland 113, Boston 100
Cleveland, OH ( - Kyrie Irving swished a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and held out his arms, extending three fingers from each hand. With all the noise made about LeBron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers back to the postseason and Kevin Love making his playoff debut, it was easy to forget about the player who had the two highest-scoring games in the NBA this season. Irving also made his postseason debut, scoring 30 points to lead Cleveland to a 113-100 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Irving scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half, including 12 in the second quarter when he made all four of his 3s, including the buzzer-beater to give the second-seeded Cavs a 62-54 lead after they trailed by eight. James scored 20 points in a game-high 42 minutes and Love had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 22 points and 10 assists off the bench to lead the seventh- seeded Celtics, who are back in the playoffs after missing them last season for the first time in seven years. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Cleveland.

Atlanta 99, Brooklyn 92
Atlanta, GA ( - Kyle Korver buried five 3-pointers and scored 21 points and the Atlanta Hawks held on for a 99-92 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll added 17 points each for the top-seeded Hawks and Dennis Schroder scored 13 off the bench. Brook Lopez scored 17 points with a game-high 14 rebounds and Joe Johnson also supplied 17 points for the Nets, who clinched the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot on the last day of the regular season. Thaddeus Young added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Jarrett Jack scored 13 off the bench in the loss. Brooklyn's only lead of the game was 2-0. Atlanta led by as many as 16 points and held off several runs in the second half. Hawks center Al Horford suffered a dislocated little finger on his right hand in the fourth quarter but had it taped up and returned to the game. He ended with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Budenholzer said X-rays taken on Horford's hand were negative. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday in Atlanta.

Memphis 100, Portland 86
Memphis, TN ( - Despite going just three games above .500 after the All-Star break, the Memphis Grizzlies had all the confidence in the world entering a playoff matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, who they swept in four regular-season meetings. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph anchored a tremendous defensive effort and Beno Udrih provided a spark off the bench to lead the Grizzlies to a 100-86 win over the Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round series on Sunday. Gasol flashed his usual two-way dominance, finishing with 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Randolph spent most of the game bullying LaMarcus Aldridge on the block. He had 16 points and 11 boards. Udrih posted a playoff career-high 20 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists for Memphis, which held Portland to 33.7 percent shooting. Mike Conley missed the final four games of the regular season with a foot injury, but he returned and contributed 16 points in 24 minutes for the Grizzlies. Aldridge led the Blazers with 32 points and 14 rebounds but missed 21 field goals and finished with more shots (34) than points. Portland's other All-Star, Damian Lillard, also had a forgettable game from the floor, shooting 5-for-21 for 14 points. Game 2 is Wednesday in Memphis.

LA Clippers 107, San Antonio 92
Los Angeles, CA ( - Midway through the third quarter, Matt Barnes wrestled Aron Baynes into the photographers while battling for a loose ball along the baseline. A sign of things to come for what promises to be a physical series between two heavyweights. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers landed the first blow, beating the defending-champion San Antonio Spurs 107-92 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The third-seeded Clippers led by eight following Barnes' triple just before his tie up with Baynes at 4:41. Less than a minute later, Paul fed a cutting Griffin for a thunderous slam over Baynes, bringing the raucous Staples Center crowd to their feet. Griffin embarrassed Baynes with another dunk at 1:02, this time after putting a spin move on Cory Joseph. The Clippers embarked on a 17-7 run following Barnes' scrum, giving them a commanding 79-61 lead. Griffin posted 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and Paul had 32 points, seven boards and six helpers for the Clippers, who entered the postseason having won 14 of 15. DeAndre Jordan gave 14 rebounds and four blocks, and Jamal Crawford scored 17 off the bench.

April 20, 2015:
Chicago 91, Milwaukee 82
Chicago, IL ( - Jimmy Butler scored 14 of his playoff career-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulls to a 91-82 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. Derrick Rose scored all 15 of his points after halftime and added nine assists and seven rebounds. Pau Gasol had 11 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, and Joakim Noah ripped down a game-high 19 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won eight of the last nine against their Central Division rival. Khris Middleton, playing in his second career postseason game, led Milwaukee with 22 points. Michael Carter-Williams was the only other Buck in double figures with 12 points. It was an offensive struggle for both teams in the first half, especially the initial quarter. Milwaukee made 25 percent of its shots over the opening 12 minutes, but the Bucks held Chicago to an even worse shooting rate (5-of-21) and led 16-11 entering the second. The Bulls' offense ramped up, however, with Mirotic netting eight points off the bench and fueling a 10-of-17 showing from the floor for the hosts in the second. Rose, who went 0-for-7 shooting with six assists and five rebounds in the opening half, found Mirotic on the block for a layup in the closing seconds that gave Chicago its one-point lead at the break.

Golden Stat 97, New Orleans 87
Oakland, CA ( - Klay Thompson scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help the Golden State Warriors to a 97-87 win and a 2-0 Western Conference quarterfinal series lead over the New Orleans Pelicans. Thompson scored 12 of Golden State's final 16 points to lead a late charge that turned a one-point game into a double-digit win. Stephen Curry, who was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, finished with 22 points and six assists in the win. Draymond Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Golden State. Anthony Davis went for 26 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, while Eric Gordon chipped in 23 points. Game 3 will be Thursday night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

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