NBA playoffs wrap 2019: Celtics start strong; Trail Blazers hold off Thunder

Sunday’s first NBA game certainly wasn’t a barn burner.

The Celtics topped the Pacers 84-74 in Boston and kicked off their first-round playoff series strong.

A surprising 20-point performance from Markieff Morris assisted Kyrie Irving’s 20-point effort in the Celtics’ win. The pair tied for a game high in scoring.

Cory Joseph, who averaged 6.5 points per game during the regular season, led a cold Indiana squad with 14 points.

Neither side shot better than 37 percent from the field in the contest.

In Portland, the Thunder were widely seen as a scary matchup for any team entering the postseason, but they’re down 0-1 to the Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard led all scorers with 30 points, but C. J. McCollum (24 points) and Enes Kanter (20) also had big games in the 104-99 win.

Russell Westbrook posted 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, but Oklahoma City couldn’t overcome terrible 3-point shooting, as it made just five of 33 attempts.

Milwaukee handily topped Detroit 121-86 in its first playoff game of 2018-19.

The Bucks got ahead early and stayed there behind a well-rounded scoring attack.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 24 points and 17 rebounds paved the way to an easy Milwaukee win.

Blake Griffin (knee) missed Game 1 and will likely have to a huge impact to turn the series around when he makes his debut.

Meanwhile, James Harden’s 29 points and 10 assists led Houston to a convincing 122-90 victory against Utah.

Rudy Gobert contributed 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, but constantly found himself overwhelmed in the paint by a swarm of Rocket slashers. Not to mention Harden driving to the basket.

The final game of the night was Sunday’s second blowout, and Utah has a lot to work on.

Studs of the Night

CJ McCollum scored 24 points for Portland, only trailing Lillard on his team.

Luke Kennard scored a team-high 21 points in Detroit’s loss.

Duds of the Night

Myles Turner scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting for the Pacers.

Paul George scored 26 points, but was 4-of-15 from deep and had a horrendous first half.

Joe Ingles scored three points on 1-of-4 shooting for the Jazz.


Lillard showcased why he’s one of the NBA’s best clutch scorers with a deep three down the stretch.

Terry Rozier edged the third quarter horn with a buzzer beater pull up jumper in TD Garden.

Antetokounmpo nearly took off from the free throw line on the break on this slam.

Danuel House got this acrobatic dump pass off to Kenneth Faried for a dunk.

What’s Next?

Nets at 76ers, Monday, 8 p.m. ET — Everyone will be watching to see if Philadelphia can bounce back from a Game 1 upset. Brooklyn’s team has little playoff experience, but put on an inspiring performance to take down the third-seeded 76ers on Saturday. This game will be critical for Philadelphia, as it could have to head to the Nets’ house down two games if it can’t respond.