Game One belonged to road teams on Monday night in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The Washington Wizards held off the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, while the Los Angeles Clippers thumped the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Wizards jumped out to a 28-15 lead after the first quarter, and trailed the Pacers just once in a 102-96 win. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 25 points, and added seven rebounds and seven assists. The young guard didn't feel much pressure in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
"The way I think about it, I'm 20 years old, I'm playing in the playoffs, something I've always dreamed of. Why not embrace it?" Beal said. "Why not accept the challenge and have fun with it? That's all I'm doing -- having fun."
Marcin Gortat and Drew Gordon were key contributors for the Wizards. The duo combined for 28 rebounds in a total of 54 minutes. Washington outrebounded Indiana, 53-36.
It was a forgettable game for Pacers star forward Paul George. In 43 minutes, he converted just four shots on 17 attempts. The bench was a bright spot for Frank Vogel's squad, shooting 13-23 from the field.
Game Two is on Wednesday in Indianapolis.
In the West, the Clippers shot 54.9 percent from the field and were led by a fantastic performace from point Chris Paul in a 122-105 win over the Thunder. Paul finished with 32 points, and hit eight of his nine three-point attempts. He missed just two of his 14 total shot attempts, and added 10 assists.
Los Angeles led by as many as 29 points, and a usually boisterous Oklahoma City crowd was barely audible for much of the 48 minutes. The Clippers turned the ball over eight times compared to the Thunder's 17 turnovers.
Nine players scored five or more points for Doc Rivers's squad. Jamal Crawford gave L.A. a lift off the bench with 17 points in 19 minutes. Blake Griffin scored 23 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant scored 29 and 25 points, respectively, while Serge Ibaka added 12 points. But the rest of the Thunder did little to keep up with the high-scoring Clippers, combining to score just 39 points.
Game Two is on Wednesday in Oklahoma City.