OAKLAND, Calif. >> Kevin Durant scored 35 points in outdueling James Harden and the Golden State Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 104-100 today in the opener of what is shaping up to be a sensational best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal.
Houston’s Chris Paul was ejected with 4.4 seconds left for a second technical. He had rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Harden that could have tied the game with 9 seconds left and was arguing for a foul.
Draymond Green added 14 points, nine assists and nine rebounds for the two-time defending champion Warriors, who are meeting the Rockets in the postseason for the fourth time in five years and with Houston having never been victorious.
Harden scored 35 points and Eric Gordon 27 after both struggled early finding their shooting strokes for the cold-shooting Rockets. They shot 14 for 47 from long range and were without reserve guard Austin Rivers because of an illness.
CELTICS 112, BUCKS 90
MILWAUKEE >> Kyrie Irving had 26 points and 11 assists, Al Horford added 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Boston cruised past Milwaukee in the opener of their second-round playoff series.
Jaylen Brown chipped in with 19 points and Gordon Hayward had 13 off the bench for the Celtics. Boston controlled the game for long stretches and played stingy defense against MVP candidate Giannis Antetokoumpo, who scored 22 points but shot just 7 for 21. Antetokounmpo didn’t make his first field goal until the first minute of the second quarter.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Khris Middleton had 16 for Milwaukee, which completed a four-game sweep of the Detroit Pistons on Monday and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Celtics came off a sweep of their own against Indiana.