NBA playoffs wrap 2019: Warriors top Rockets in wild finish; Celtics shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo to win

Kevin Durant continued his torrid playoff run Sunday, scoring 35 points to lead the Warriors to a 104-100 victory over the Rockets in Game 1 of their semifinals series.

The 10-time All-Star, who averaged 35 points per game in the Warriors’ first-round series win against the 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 with 10 seconds to play, James Harden launched an errant 3-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’d been fouled on the play, was called for a technical. Curry hit the free throw for the final margin.

Afterward, Durant credited the Warriors’ defense with the victory.

“We just made them shoot tough shots,” Durant told ESPN.

In Sunday’s first game, the Celtics had a specific goal in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Bucks: Stop Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Mission accomplished.

The Celtics frustrated the Bucks’ superstar, limiting him to 7-of-21 shooting, as Boston claimed an easy 112-90 victory in Milwaukee to open the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Nothing came easy for Antetokounmpo, who scored 22 but had a game-low minus-24. Several Celtics spent time shadowing Antetokounmpo, with Al Horford in particular doing a fine job.

“Our focus was to make sure that we made it tough on him every time,” Horford said. “All of our guys, at different times, were on him and involved in the play. Just making sure he earned everything he got. And I felt like we did a really good job of that.”

On the offensive end, the Bucks had no answer for Kyrie Irving, who scored 26 (12-of-21 shooting) and added 11 assists. Horford scored 20 and Jaylen Brown pitched in 19.

Studs of the Night

Rockets guard Eric 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.

Duds of the Night

James Harden scored 35, but hit only 9-of-27 shots from the field, and 4-of-16 3-pointers, in the Rockets’ loss.

Bucks guard Pat Connaughton hit only 2-of-10 shots and one of his seven 3-point attempts.


You don’t see Giannis Antetokounmpo get rejected very often — let alone twice on the same play.

Stephen Curry sinks the dagger into the Rockets’ hearts.

What’s Next?

76ers at Raptors, Monday, 8 p.m. ET — Toronto won Game 1 rather easily, but recall that the 76ers had an uninspiring performance in their first-round series opener against the Nets. Kawhi Leonard scored a career playoff-high 45 points in Game 1, and the 76ers certainly can do a better job than that on the defensive end.