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Harden has 24 points, Rockets beat Mavs 118-108 in Game 1 (April 19, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) scores over Dallas Mavericks' Monta Ellis (11) during the second half of game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON -- James Harden had 24 points and Corey Brewer scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.

Brewer made three 3-pointers in about 3 minutes in the fourth to keep the Mavericks at bay. He added another three points when he made a layup and a free throw to give Houston a 109-95 lead with 3 minutes left.

Houston won the opener in the best-of-seven series after losing both home games last season in a first-round loss to Portland. Game 2 is Tuesday night in Houston.

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Derrick Rose charged up in postseason return: 'It felt good' (April 19, 2015)
Nick Friedell [ Source: ESPN ]

Derrick Rose is grateful for his teammates "allowing me to play the way that I normally play, and it's an honor." Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- In his first postseason game in almost three years, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose scored 23 points and dished out seven assists while showing more emotion than usual in a 103-91 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday night.

"It felt good," Rose said of his playoff return. "It felt normal. I'm grateful to be playing again, playing with my teammates that I have right now. They're allowing me to play the way that I normally play, and it's an honor, man. I'm really fortunate because I think anywhere else it wouldn't be the same, and they're giving me motivation. They're pushing me, and it feels good."

After an unremarkable six minutes in the first quarter, Rose went 5-for-5 from the field in the second -- dominating the game at times. It was Rose's first playoff action since April 28, 2012, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round against the Philadelphia 76ers. Rose tore the ACL in his left knee that day and has struggled to stay on the floor since. He tore the medial meniscus in his right knee in November 2013 and had a mensicectomy in February 2015 after tearing it again.

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Derrick Rose scores 23 points in first playoff game since 2012 (April 19, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, center, drives to the basket against Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, right, and guard Michael Carter-Williams during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO -- Through three long years of knee surgeries and recoveries, the Chicago Bulls waited for this. And when the moment arrived, here is what Derrick Rose did.

He attacked. He played like an MVP, and if he keeps it up, the Bulls will be a tough team to knock out.

Rose had 23 points and seven assists in his first postseason game in three years, Jimmy Butler scored 25 points, and Chicago opened the playoffs with a 103-91 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

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Lillard, Blazers look for a repeat of turnaround (April 19, 2015)
Baxter Holmes [ Source: ESPN ]

Damian Lillard. Cameron Browne/Getty Images

MEMPHIS -- Damian Lillard sees parallels to his first postseason appearance that give the Portland Trail Blazers' star point guard confidence heading into his second one.

First, some context: A year ago, Lillard & Co. were smacked by the Houston Rockets during the regular season, losing three of four.

Then they met up again in the first round.

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From where will Brow's help come? (April 19, 2015)
Tom Haberstoh [ Source: ESPN ]

New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis, right, drives past Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. Golden State won 106-99. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After scoring 35 points in his career playoff debut and pushing the Golden State Warriors to the brink in Game 1, Anthony Davis sat at the postgame podium in front of the cameras next to his teammate Quincy Pondexter. Everyone knew Davis (and his famous eye awning), but the average on-looking NBA fan probably wouldn't have been able to name the MVP candidate's co-pilot on stage if it weren't for the introduction by the team's PR staff.

That captures the Pelicans' plight these days. No disrespect to Pondexter, a high-IQ role player who scored 20 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' 106-99 Game 1 loss. But it's concerning that it's difficult to figure out who is worthy of being Davis' co-star these days.

Complicating matters: Point guard Tyreke Evans is scheduled to undergo an MRI after feeling a "pop" in his left knee in the second quarter.

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NBA

LOS ANGELES -- The names of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan will forever be intertwined in NBA history.

They have more postseason wins than any coach-player duo in league history. More than Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, more than Magic Johnson and Pat Riley, and more than Bill Russell and Red Auerbach.

And in the twilight of their legendary partnership, in what could be their final postseason run together, they open the playoffs against the man who nearly came between them, not once, but twice -- Doc Rivers.

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Thaddeus Young in best supporting role (April 19, 2015)
Mike Mazzeo [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Thaddeus Young has already been through a lot this season.

In November, his mother, Lulu Hall, died at age 57 following an 18-month battle with breast cancer.

“It was probably the toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” Young said Saturday. “She was a great woman. She did everything she could to sacrifice for me and my brother and my sisters. I know she wants me to continue to play and continue to be strong. I just keep trying to go out there and just play. She’ll always be close to my heart and I just want to play for her each and every game.”

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Jayson Castro pops a three-pointer over Wayne Chism and Ty Tang. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters look to overtake the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and grab the series lead in Game Three of their best-of-seven PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals Sunday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Tip-off is set at 5 p.m. live on TV5 with the series currently tied at 1-1.

The Elasto Painters are aiming to duplicate their impressive 116-108 win in Game Two last Friday where they had to rally from a 17-point first half deficit and survive a 44-point performance from Jayson Castro.

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New Orleans Pelicans' Tyreke Evans (1) and Alexis Ajinca shoot during NBA basketball practice in Oakland, Calif., Friday, April 17, 2015. The Pelicans play the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs on Saturday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tyreke Evans is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on his left knee later Saturday after banging knees with Golden State's Andre Iguodala and suffering a contusion that knocked him out of Game 1 of the team's first-round series.

After the game, without yet knowing the full extent of the injury, Evans said he "felt a little pop, felt a little snap" in the knee in the wake of the first-half collision with Iguodala.

"I never felt nothing like that before," Evans told ESPN.com of the sharp pain.

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Rain or Shine stars Chan, Lee battling injuries in finals (April 19, 2015)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

Paul Lee battled through pain to lead Rain or Shine to victory in Game Two. KC Cruz

Before the Commissioner's Cup finals series against Talk 'N Text, Jeff Chan was still unsure whether he would play for Rain or Shine due to a nagging plantar fascia injury.

He had sat out most of the semifinals against Meralco, seeing action for just five minutes in Game One and then totally resting for the next two games. The Elasto Painters managed to close out the Bolts without him.

The Tropang Texters, however, are a different story. To win the championship, Rain or Shine would need the presence of their best sniper.

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