Monday, June 17, 2024

2024 NBA play-offs: Boston Celtics beat Miami Heat in opener

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The Boston Celtics started their NBA play-off campaign with a 114-94 win over the Miami Heat.

Jayson Tatum’s triple-double helped the top seeds to lead throughout against last season’s losing finalists.

The Heat entered the play-offs as the number eight seeds after beating the Chicago Bulls in a play-in eliminator.

But without injured star player Jimmy Butler, the Heat found the Celtics too strong in the opener to the best-of-seven series.

Tatum scored 23 points, had 10 rebounds and provided 10 assists – and was one of six players to score double figures for Boston, but warned his side they “can’t relax” against the team which eliminated them from the play-offs last year.

“They’re not going to give up, they’re not going to lay down,” he said.

There are 16 teams in the first round of the play-offs, playing best-of-seven series in a knockout format. The eight winners go through to the next round.

James Harden scored 28 points for the Los Angeles Clippers as they beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-97 in the first game of their series.

The home side led 56-30 at half-time and despite a fight back led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, with 33 and 31 points respectively, the Mavericks were left with too much to do.

Damian Lillard scored all 35 of his points in the first half as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Indiana Pacers 109-94 despite the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

His 35 points were a record for any Bucks player in any half of a play-off game.

The Bucks defence held the prolific Pacers offense to under 100 points for just the second time this season.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 28 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder to help them to a thrilling 94-92 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

In the Thunder’s first play-off game since 2020, Gilgeous-Alexander made two key baskets in the final two minutes to give Oklahoma City the series lead.

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