Nets defeat Raptors while OKC ease to win over Grizzlies.
There were four games on the NBA schedule on Saturday night, as the playoffs got underway and produced some fascinating results.
The post-season tipped off in Toronto as the Raptors hosted the Brooklyn Nets looking to claim the first shock of the day.
However, despite some promising signs and some spirited comebacks in a lively Air Canada Centre, the experience of the visitors ultimately saw them through as Paul Pierce stepped up in the fourth quarter.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had 24 points apiece while Pierce ended the game with 15 of his own, however it was an all-round team effort from the Nets who looked dominant early on.
Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Raptors but it wasn’t enough as they drop the first home game and will look to respond in Game 2.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks were able to take the first game against the Indiana Pacers as the top seed from the Eastern Conference appeared to be back in their late-season malaise.
Jeff Teague scored 28 points as his team-mates were able to open up the lanes given their threat from the three-point line, while Paul Millsap added 25 points.
Paul George responded with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Lance Stephenson finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. However, the Pacers were unable to avoid slipping behind in the series and will need a response in Game 2 on Tuesday.
Over in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors eventually secured a significant win at Staples Center to take a 1-0 lead against the Los Angeles Clippers.
David Lee had 20 points and 13 rebounds but Klay Thompson led the way with his 22 points as both teams struggled with foul trouble as the game became a battle from the free-throw line.
Nevertheless, the Warriors prevailed after making a slow start and will look to repeat their achievement in LA on Monday night as Thompson claimed that the pressure how now shifted to the Clippers as they can’t afford to lose at home again and go two games down.
There were no problems for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final game of the night, as Kevin Durant’s 33 points led the way to a comfortable win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Having made a slow start, the Grizzlies were able to eat into most of a 25-point deficit before Durant took over and scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Memphis will be aware of the requirement to play at their pace in the upcoming games, while Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were able to support Durant to get the confidence-boosting first win.
Brooklyn Nets 94-87 Toronto Raptors
Golden State Warriors 109-105 Los Angeles Clippers
Atlanta Hawks 101-93 Indiana Pacers
Memphis Grizzlies 86-100 Oklahoma City Thunder