HOUSTON -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored a franchise playoff-record 46 points and Damian Lillard added 31, including the go-ahead free throws in overtime, to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 122-120 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Aldridge fouled out with about a minute left in overtime and Lillard, who was making his playoff debut, took over. He scored the next five points for Portland and put the Trail Blazers on top by one point with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left. Joel Freeland made one of two free throws seconds later to give the Blazers the win in their first trip to the postseason since 2011.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.
CHICAGO -- Nene started thinking about how it would all unfold in the middle of the night. No way could he have scripted it any better than this.
Nene dominated with 24 points, Trevor Ariza scored 18, and the Washington Wizards rallied from 13 down to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-93 in their playoff opener on Sunday night.
John Wall scored 16 in his postseason debut. Marcin Gortat added 15 points and 13 rebounds, and the fifth-seeded Wizards pulled out the victory even though they looked like they were ready to be blown out.
Alaska and San Mig Coffee will play for the second straight night as the Aces' win coupled by Rain or Shine's overtime victory over Barangay Ginebra had Alaska getting the 3rd seend and the Coffee Mixers 6th.
The Mixers sat 4 key players in last night's loss while the Aces sparingly used theirs but that won't be the key today as the stakes become higher.
“They will be twice as sharp and as good tomorrow (Monday),” said Trillo.
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who beat Barangay Ginebra last night to secure the 4th spot, meets the well-rested Meralco Bolts in Game 1 of their Best-of-3 uarterfinals series today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game starts at 5:45pm.
While The Elasto painters had to go through an overtime last night, the Bolts haven't played in 8 days since beating San Mig Coffee last April 14. Fatigue could be a factor tonight.
MIAMI -- Each of the last two Miami championship runs has been highlighted by moments where a sharpshooter enters a game and immediately provides a surprise spark.
James Jones got his turn Sunday.
And the lift he brought, combined with the expected playoff showings from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, have the Heat off and running in these playoffs.
When Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism struggled for just six points is the Elasto Painters’ victory last week over the Air 21 Express, coach Yeng Guiao quickly stepped in to reaffirm his faith in his player.
“I don’t think this is the way he plays,” said Guiao after that game. “He’s a lot better in practice. It gives us hope.”
On Sunday night against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Chism bounced back in a big way, scoring 30 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and blocking five shots to lead the Elasto Painters to a crucial win over the Gin Kings.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Atlanta's spread offense is forcing the Pacers to scramble.
All-Star Paul George acknowledged he's likely to spend at least some time defending Hawks point guard Jeff Teague on Tuesday night, though it remains unclear how long he'll keep that assignment in Game 2 or whether the plan could change again before tip-off.
What is clear: Indiana must slow down Teague, a challenge George has already embraced.
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters clinched the fourth seed in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup playoffs on Sunday with a hard-earned 105-101 overtime victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
It was an important win for the squad, which would have fallen to No. 7 for a twice-to-win disadvantage if it had lost the game.
But there was no time to celebrate for Rain or Shine as they have less than 24 hours to gear up for a matchup against the fifth seed Meralco Bolts in Game One of their quarterfinals series on Monday.
SAN ANTONIO -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says he looks forward to sideline reporter Craig Sager's return and "I promise I'll be nice."
TNT's Sager is missing the NBA playoffs as he undergoes treatment for leukemia. So his son, Craig Sager Jr., filled in for Sunday's broadcast of San Antonio's playoff opener against Dallas, asking Popovich a few questions after the third quarter.
Popovich is famous for his terse answers to in-game questions from Sager and other sideline reporters. Sager even joked about it in a statement Friday confirming his diagnosis: "Too bad, I had some probing questions for Pop."
Gabe Freeman started off like a house on fire in his debut for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday, scoring 17 of his 29 points in the first quarter against Rain or Shine.
But Freeman and the rest of the Gin Kings could not sustain the effort, as the Elasto Painters pulled off a 105-101 escape in overtime.
The defeat relegated Ginebra to the No. 8 seed in the quarterfinals, where they need to win twice against an unbeaten top seed Talk ‘N Text squad.