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NBA Playoffs: All 8 hosts protect their home court advantage

The teams with the better regular-season record won the first game of each series in the recently started NBA playoffs and protected their homecourt advantage. On Saturday, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers met at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, with the Cavs achieving a comfortable 97:83 win, behind Donovan Mitchell’s 30 points and Jarrett Allen’s double double of 16 points and 18 rebounds. In the other Eastern Conference Saturday game, the New York Knicks rallied past the Philladelphia 76ers, emerging victorious by a 111:104 score.

In the West, Minnesota defeated the visiting Phoenix Suns 120:95, with Anthony Edwards being the most productive among the Wolves’ ranks with 33 points. The defending champions Denver Nuggets proved too strong for the Los Angeles Lakers when the two organizations met at Ball Arena, winning 114:103. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray both concluded the game with double-doubles to their name, with the Serbian registering 32 points and 12 rebounds, while the Canadian point guard ended with 22 points and 10 assists.

Boston defeated Miami 114:94 in the earliest NBA clash on Sunday at the TD Garden. In the absence of the Heat’s key figures Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier, the Celtics had 6 of the players finish with double digits in points. The most impressive performance undoubtedly belonged to Jayson Tatum who dropped 23 points, provided 10 assists and caught 10 rebouns to end the night with a triple-double. Milwaukee Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo when facing Indiana Pacers at the Fiserv Forum yesterday but Damian Lillard inspired the team to a 109:94 win with 35 points.

In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers downed Dallas Mavericks 109:97 at Arena. For the Mavs, only Kyrie Irving and Luca Doncic scored more than 15 points, ending with 31 and 33 respectively. It was not enough to steal the Clippers’ home court advantage, as they had 5 players reaching double digits in points. James Harden scored 28, while Ivica Zubac dropped 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to end the night with a double-double. New Orleans’ visit to Oklahoma City Thunder turned out to be the most thrilling match-up of all 1st games of the playoffs, with OKC winning by 94:92. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the top scorer for the Thunder with 28 points while Trey Murphy III and CJ McCollum answered with 21 and 20, respectively, for the Pelicans.