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Home News-Telegram Sports Pro Sports Teams go for 2-0 leads in NBA playoffs

Teams go for 2-0 leads in NBA playoffs

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By The Associated Press
    The bad news for Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Portland is obvious: They’re down 1-0 and on the road.
    There’s worse news, too. Washington, Houston and Golden State all think they’ll be better in Game 2.

    The Wizards, Rockets and Warriors will all aim to take 2-0 leads in their respective series tonight, when those first-round matchups resume. Washington plays host to Atlanta, Houston to Oklahoma City and Golden State to Portland.
    Win, and tonight’s home teams will be in control. Lose, and the homecourt edge that came after a sixmonth regular season would be gone just a few days into the postseason.
    “We saw some things we definitely need to improve on going into Game 2,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said.
    Same went for Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who thought his two-time defending Western Conference champions were jittery in the first half of Game 1 against Portland before settling down. And the Rockets — even after beating Oklahoma City by 31 points in their series opener — didn’t go overboard with the celebrating.
    “One game,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Got to come back here Wednesday and do it again.”
    Some things to know about tonight’s matchups:

    NEED TO KNOW: John Wall (32 points, 14 assists) controlled Game 1 for Washington, and Markieff Morris (21 points, seven rebounds, four blocks) was outstanding. Atlanta is now 1-4 against the Wizards this season, and no Hawks team has ever overcome a 2-0 series deficit (0 for 24).
    KEEP AN EYE ON: Atlanta went 32 for 39 from the foul line in Game 1, Washington 16
    for 17. The Wizards don’t get to the line a ton, but if they put themselves in that sort of predicament again they’ll be asking for trouble.
    INJURY UPDATE: Washington’s Ian Mahinmi (left calf) is out.
    PRESSURE IS ON: Dwight Howard played 29 minutes and was a mere 2 for 6 from the floor in Game 1. He did the job on the glass with 14 rebounds, but he cannot be so outplayed by Marcin Gortat again if Atlanta is going to head home with a split.

    NEED TO KNOW: Round 1 of the James Harden-Russell Westbrook matchup was no contest. Harden struggled from 3-point range and still shot 13 for 28. Westbrook was only 6 for 23, one of his worst games of the season. Houston also converted on 12 of 14 second-chance opportunities in the series opener, a big reason for the rout. The Thunder have shown bounce-back ability all season, going 13-8 in games immediately following a double-digit loss.
    KEEP AN EYE ON: Houston’s Patrick Beverley was 11 for 41 with 31 points, total, in his most recent six playoff games — until Game 1 of this series, when he shot 8 for 13 and scored 21 points.
    INJURY UPDATE: Houston’s Sam Dekker (left hand and wrist) is out.
    PRESSURE IS ON: Thunder guard Victor Oladipo was 1 for 12 from the floor in his playoff debut, 0 for 9 outside the paint. Even Westbrook needs help, and Oladipo has to be much better in Game 2.

    NEED TO KNOW: So much gets made about “adjustments” between games of a playoff series. It’s tough to see Portland changing much. By the NBA’s count, the Blazers had 46 open shots in Game 1 and made only 19 of them. The Warriors were 20 for 33 on open shots. Translated: Portland got good looks, and had its chances. Why mess with that plan?
    KEEP AN EYE ON: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shot a combined 15 for 35 (rather blah for them) for Golden State in Game 1. The Warriors scored 121 points, Kevin Durant sizzled and Draymond Green was fantastic, but
look for the Splash Brothers to shoot better tonight.
    INJURY UPDATE: Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic (right leg) says he will not play in Game 2. “I’m not 100 percent,” Nurkic said. “I’m close, but I’m not going to play the second game” of the series.
    PRESSURE IS ON: An argument could be made it’s actually on Golden State. Yes, the Warriors took the best shot from Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum (a combined 75 points) in Game 1,  
    BULLS 111, CELTICS 97:
    BOSTON — Jimmy Butler scored 22 points, Rajon Rondo finished one rebound shy of a triple-double and the Chicago Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 111-97 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their series against the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
    Butler added eight rebounds and eight assists. Rondo’s night ended with 11 points and 14 assists.




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