Parker and James star as both teams make a statement.
The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat got off to the perfect start in their respective Conference semi-finals series with comprehensive wins on Tuesday night.
After risking a first-round playoff exit against the Dallas Mavericks, the Spurs found their feet immediately against the Portland Trail Blazers with a stellar performance.
Tony Parker had 33 points and nine assists as the hosts never trailed in Game 1, with coach Gregg Popovich praising his point guard for his aggressiveness whilst also pointing out his improvement on the defensive end.
Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge conceded that San Antonio “did what championship teams do” by setting the tone early and controlling proceedings thereafter, with the visitors having no real chance to make an impression in the game.
Kawhi Leonard had 16 points while Tim Duncan added 12 points and 11 rebounds, but importantly the bench was able to step up for the Spurs too with Marco Belinelli, Aron Baynes and Patty Mills all contributing.
Aldridge responded with 32 points and 14 rebounds while Damian Lillard added 17 points, but it wasn’t enough as a confident San Antonio appear to have found their rhythm and look like the dangerous outfit that dominated the regular season.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat overcame an eight-day rest as well as any rust to beat the Brooklyn Nets for the first time this season.
Having been swept in the regular season series, Miami bounced back with 22 points from LeBron James and Ray Allen added 19 points.
Coach Erik Spoelstra was keen to stress that it was just one game, but he was pleased with the energy and activity from his team as they maintained their perfect post-season record.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had 17 points apiece, but there wasn’t enough support to make this an interesting match-up as the two teams prepare for Game 2 on Thursday night.
Brooklyn Nets 86-107 Miami Heat
Portland Trail Blazers 92-116 San Antonio Spurs