CLEVELAND — LeBron James figured he had experienced everything in 12 postseasons.
Turns out, there was something new.
Victor Oladipo scored 32 points and Indiana outplayed Cleveland from the start while pulling off a stunning 98-80 victory Sunday in the series opener, handing James and the Cavaliers’ their first loss in the opening round in eight years.
It also was the first playoff-opening loss for James, who came in 12-0 in Game 1s and did not realize he had been perfect starting the postseason.
“Is it?” James said. “I’ve never lost a game in the first round before in my career?
But while he knows the narrative before Wednesday’s Game 2 will be on the struggles of Cleveland’s playoff newcomers, James is not worried.
“I’m down 0-1 in the first round,” he said. “I was down 3-1 in the Finals. So, I’m the last guy to ask about how you’re going to feel the next couple days.”
Rockets 104, Timberwolves 101: HOUSTON — James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed Houston to outlast Minnesota in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series. Houston kept All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns in check, limiting him to just eight points. Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points to lead Minnesota. The top-seeded Rockets made just 10 of 37 3-pointers. Harden made 7 of 12 3-pointers, but Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Paul combined to make just three of their 22 tries.
Thunder 116, Jazz 108: OKLAHOMA CITY — Paul George scored 36 points to help Oklahoma City beat Utah in Game 1 of the Western Conference series. George set an Oklahoma City playoff record with eight 3-pointers, blowing past the previous record of five. He made 8 of 11 shots from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall.
Celtics 113, Bucks 107: BOSTON — Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Boston overcame Khris Middleton’s long 3-pointer that beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to top Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series. The Celtics led 99-96 with 0.5 seconds left in regulation when Middleton took an inbounds pass on the far right wing and hit a contested 35-footer.