Monday, April 22, 2013
SAN ANTONIO — Manu Ginobili cautioned against expecting too much from him in his second game back from a hamstring injury.
All he did is help the San Antonio Spurs snap a three-game skid and win their playoff opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ginobili and Tony Parker scored 18 points each as the Spurs led from early in the first quarter and beat the Lakers 91-79 on Sunday.
“It was great to have Manu back,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He does what he does. He makes big shots. He creates problems for the opponent and he’s got a great will, a great desire. I’ll worry all night about how he’ll feel in the morning. If he says he feels great, then that will be a good sign for our team.”
In his 11th season, Ginobili has battled leg injuries all season and was playing for the second time following a nine-game absence due to a strained right hamstring. He looked like his old self, going 6 for 13 from the field and 3 for 5 on 3s in 19 minutes.
“I feel good,” Ginobili said. “I’m very happy that I played the whole game, that I didn’t get hurt and that I scored a little bit.”
Tim Duncan added 17 points and 10 rebounds, Matt Bonner had 10 points and Kawhi Leonard had eight points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
Dwight Howard had 20 points and 15 rebounds, Steve Nash scored 16 points and Pau Gasol added 16 points and 16 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Thunder 120, Rockets 91
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 24 points, Russell Westbrook made a run at a triple-double in three quarters and the Oklahoma City Thunder routed ex-teammate James Harden and the Houston Rockets 120-91 on Sunday night in Game 1 of their playoff series.
After letting Houston wipe away an 11-point deficit in the first half, the Thunder regained control with a 14-1 surge just before halftime and kept pouring it on.
Just after a fan nailed a half-court shot to win $20,000 in the break after the third quarter, Durant drove for a two-handed slam while getting fouled and Oklahoma City was soon up by 30.
Harden, playing against the team that traded him away just before the season started, had 20 points but the league’s second-highest scoring offense was held 15 points below its regular-season average while shooting 36 percent.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.
Heat 110, Bucks 87
MIAMI — LeBron James scored 27 points on 9 for 11 shooting, Ray Allen scored 20 off the bench and the Heat never trailed on the way to beating the Bucks in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.
Dwyane Wade scored 16, Chris Bosh added 15 and Chris Andersen finished with 10 on 4 for 4 shooting for the Heat, who opened their title defense by holding Milwaukee to 42 percent shooting.
Brandon Jennings scored 26 points and Monta Ellis added 22 for the Bucks, who have not won the opening game of a playoff series since May 2001.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Miami.
Pacers 107, Hawks 90
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 23 points and recorded his first playoff triple double, leading Indiana past Atlanta for a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference series.
George made just 3 of 13 shots but was 17 of 18 from the free-throw line, had 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
George Hill added 18 points despite playing with a left groin injury. It’s the first time since 2006 that the Pacers have opened a playoff series with a win.
The best-of-seven series resumes Wednesday at Indy.
On Sunday, the Central Division champs played more like the team that was contending for the No. 2 seed rather than the one stumbling to five losses in its previous seven games.
Atlanta was led by Jeff Teague with 21 points and Josh Smith with 15.