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NBA playoffs: Rockets, LeBron dominate conference semifinal openers

Trevor Ariza scored 23 points, James Harden added 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets stormed past San Antonio 126-99 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Spurs’ worst loss in a series opener under Gregg Popovich.

The Rockets were 22 for 50 on 3-pointers, the most 3s attempted and made against the Spurs in their long postseason history.

Houston had six players in double figures, including 20 points and 13 rebounds from Clint Capela.

Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio.

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Houston led by as many as 39 points, including a 30-point lead in the first half, in the opener of the first series between the rivals since the Rockets’ victory in the 1995 Western Conference finals.

at Cleveland 116, Toronto 105: LeBron James considered swigging a beer while scoring 35 points, Kyrie Irving added 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up where they left off following a long layoff and throttled the Toronto Raptors 116-105 on Monday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Cavs hadn’t played since April 23, when they completed a four-game sweep of Indiana. But the defending champions didn’t show signs of rust and were well-prepared to face the revenge-seeking Raptors, who lost to Cleveland in last year’s conference finals.

Toronto dropped to 1-12 in playoff openers.

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Game 2 is Wednesday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 20 and DeMar DeRozan 19 for the Raptors, who were within seven in the third quarter before James dropped a 3-pointer, converted a three-point play, drained another 3 and then considered washing down a brew.

After drawing a foul on a missed layup, James playfully hopped toward the sideline, where a courtside server was passing by. The three-time champion reached and grabbed a beer bottle from her tray and brought it toward his lips before putting it back.

By then, he and the Cavs had already downed the Raptors.


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