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NBA Playoffs 2015: Paul "More Than Points" Pierce

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Toronto Raptors - Washington Wizards 86:93 (OT)

(0-1 series)

First game and first surprise. The Wizards took away home court advantage from the Raptors led by Paul Pierce’s 20 points (just ten shots).

The veteran was booed by the crowd but that didn't bother him at all. Bradley Beal had all-around game with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists but shot awfully 6-23 from the field and John Wall also was cold so Nene (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Kevin Seraphin (10 points, 4 rebounds) stepped up for Washington.

The Raptors started good, leading after the first quarter but then Washington responded and entered last period with a 9-point lead.

Toronto played better in those minutes and Greivis Vasquez tied the game at 82 with 3-pointer after replacing Lowry who was fouled out. In the overtime, clutch master Pierce scored 5 points, more than whole Raptors team and secured victory for the Wizards. Amir Johnson with 18 points and DeMar DeRozan with 15, 11 rebounds and 6 assists were the best players for Toronto.

Golden State Warriors - New Orleans Pelicans 106:99

(1-0 series)

The best team in the regular season defended their home court and improved to 40-2 in the Oracle Arena. Once more the Dubs showed impressive firepower and won the first quarter against the Pelicans 28:13, building an unmatched lead. MVP candidate Curry led the way and others followed him. At the halftime, the result was 59:41. The Warriors led by as many as 25 in the third quarter (82:57) and it looked like the game was sealed, but Anthony Davis erupted for 20 points in the final 12 minutes, sparking the Pelicans run and cutting the deficit to just 4 points in the last minute. But it wasn't enough to knock down the Warriors. 

Evans' injury was a huge blow for New Orleans, especially considering that Jrue Holiday is still rusty after recovering from the ankle injury. Golden State had five players who scored in double-figures, with Curry (34), Thompson (21) and Green (15 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists) leading the way.

On the other side, Davis finished with 35 points and 7 boards on his playoff debut, but only Pondexter (20+9+6 stat line) and Gordon (16) provided some help for the young superstar.

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Chicago Bulls - Milwaukee Bucks 103:91

(1-0 series)

Chicago’s backcourt consisted of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler combined for 48 points and 13 assists, Gasol notched double-double and Brooks scored 13 off the bench, and that was too much for the young Bucks squad. The Bulls had more rebounds (52-41), and that compensated a bunch of turnovers they've committed.

They were leading for almost the entire game, successfully denying Milwaukee any serious chance to do something. Khris Middleton was the go-to scorer for the Bucks with 18 points, Pachulia added 15, Antetokounmpo and Henson 12 apiece.

The Bucks shot merely 39,3% from the field (25% from downtown) and blocked just 3 shots compared to 7 by the Bulls. That was the first playoff game for Derrick Rose since tearing his ACL in 2012 first-round series against Philadelphia, and emotional one. He looked very good last night and received MVP chants by the home crowd.

Houston Rockets - Dallas Mavericks 118:108

(1-0 series)

The Texas high-scoring delicacy was the best game of the first playoffs day. Bitter rivals displayed good offensive game, and Rockets’ pick-and-roll sets were too much for Dallas to handle. The Rockets were leading since the beginning and seven players scored in double figures. Harden notched a double-double with 24 points and 11 assists, Jones added 19, Terry 16 (4 three-pointers), Brewer 15, Ariza 12 while Howard and Smith scored 11 apiece. Dirk Nowitzki, as usually, led the Mavs with 24 and 8 boards, Chandler had 11 and 18, Ellis scored 16 and Rondo 15 points.

Corey Brewer exploded in the last quarter scoring 13 points; 3 three-pointers and one more 3-point play after being fouled during easy layup. Every Dallas’ attack was rejected even when they started hitting some difficult shots.

The game was over when Houston went +14 in little more than 3 minutes remaining. The Rockets had more assists, steals, blocks and 28 more free-throw attempts while producing fewer turnovers and fouls. That was the key of the win. Dallas was impaired in the second half with Devin Harris, one of the main weapons off the bench, not being able to participate because of a toe injury.

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