By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets, 123-109, in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series held Saturday. Bosnian Jusuf Nurkic facing his previous NBA team provided key late buckets emerging as one of the main contributors with a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double to go along with five assists. Damian Lillard put up a 34-point, 13-assist double-double, and CJ McCollum finished with 21 points.
Nikola Jokic generated 34 points behind 14/27 field goals but the hosts failed to return from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. The Serbian big also grabbed 15 rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. was held to 1/10 long-range shots but followed with 25 points. Facundo Campazzo had eight points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals in his NBA playoffs debut.
Luka Doncic scored 31 points guiding the Dallas Mavericks to the away win, 113-103, against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Slovenian star pulled a triple-double with 11 assists and ten rebounds in Game 1. Latvian Kristaps Porzingis threw in 14 more points, German Maxi Kleber had six points, nine rebounds, and four assists, and Italian Nicolo Melli added four rebounds.
The hosts actually contained Doncic in the fourth quarter limiting him to one point, but could not protect their home-court advantage. French Nicolas Batum paired his 11 points with seven boards. Serge Ibaka and Croatian Ivica Zubac both produced eight points.
The Brooklyn Nets went up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series versus the Boston Celtics notching the 104-93 victory. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden combined for 82 points. French Evan Fournier started and posted ten points for the guests.
The playoffs opener saw Khris Middleton hit a buzzer-beating game-winner in the overtime win, 109-107, for the Milwaukee Bucks over the Miami Heat.
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