The critics James Harden claims not to hear won't be hushed by a spectacular performance in the series opener of the first round. For Harden, now more than ever, the playoffs are about how he finishes, not how he starts. But Harden looked every bit like the MVP he will probably soon be during the Houston Rockets' 104-101 Game 1 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Davis had 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo won the backcourt battle, and the Pelicans held on for a 97-95 victory on Saturday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series.
Ben Simmons had 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in his playoff debut, and the Sixers rolled to a 130-103 victory on Saturday night for their 17th straight win.
Kevin Durant helped the defending champions get defensive in a hurry, finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the Warriors returned to their old dominant selves at playoff time to beat the cold-shooting San Antonio Spurs 113-92 on Saturday.
Serge Ibaka had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors snapped a 10-game losing streak in playoff openers by beating the Washington Wizards 114-106 on Saturday.
Eight games remain in the Washington Wizards' regular season. As they make their final playoff push, All-Star point guard John Wall could be ready to go by their next game.