Rockets – Timberwolves: 104-101
Houston leads 1-0
The Rockets beat the Wolves four times in as many oppositions in the regular season. All with an average difference of more than fifteen points. Figures that suggest that the first seed in the West is largely favorite of this duel in the first round of the playoffs. However, this introduction was more complicated than announced for Houston. Absent from the playoffs for fourteen years, the wolves have been selling their skins. They even limited Chris Paul (14 points, 5/14, 4 assists, 6 lost balls) and other Texan exteriors. But a man made the difference. Not anyone. The likely MVP, James Harden. The bearded man had the expected attitude of every superstar. He behaved like the best player of the season. As the best player on the floor. With a first card at the finish: 44 points, the most prolific individual performance of this first weekend of playoffs. Above all, he scored in important moments. Because the match was tight and it was even far from being won for Houston. It was precisely necessary for Harden to increase his level of play in the last minutes of the game so that the Rockets avoided the trap. James Harden (Houston Rockets) Getty Images They were even led to seven minutes of the final siren. Moment chosen by the maestro to chain the baskets. A 7-0, a timeout by Tom Thibodeau and Timberwolves who will never come back to their opponents. And even if Jimmy Butler still had an opportunity to equalize in the final second of the game. Harden thus planted 13 of his 44 pawns in the last quarter time. A decisive performance. He sublimated a team a little inside. Among his friends, only Clint Capela really insured. He was even excellent. Switzerland has 24 points and 12 rebounds but has also limited Karl-Anthony Towns 8 points to 3/9 shots.
Thunder – Jazz: 116-108
Oklahoma City leads 1-0
Paul George was boiling before he even stepped on the floor that night. Inspired by a press conference, the star of the Thunder has found herself a new nickname: ‘Playoffs P’. The alias of his alter-ego for the playoffs. A special player so. But leave to speak, as much to assume. Because this famous ‘Playoffs P’ was also very inspired on the field. George broke the defensive patterns of the Jazz, the best NBA team in this field, to finish with 36 points while his team planted 116. So with a first victory in the key. PG converted 13 of his 20 attempts. With some shots from elsewhere. An offensive card that does the most good to the Thunder. The offensive flow of the team Russell Westbrook (29 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists tonight) is often too chopped. The game rests (too) often on the outgoing MVP, even if the other players are content to play the studs while waiting to receive the ball. But the deal changes clearly when George is aggressive. It creates new offsets. New spaces. Returning the contested shots, he sowed doubt in the defense of Jazz. And OKC quickly took a ten point lead in its wake. Utah tried to retort by raising the attacking tone. For his first in the playoffs, rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points (11/22 on fire). But he was limited because of a small injury that kept him away from the floor a few minutes before he decided to come back into play. Rudy Gobert finished second in scoring with 14 points (7 rebounds) . The Jazz will have to strive to better stop the stars of the Thunder to compete in the series. Especially the now famous ‘Playoffs P’.