SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker had 33 points and nine assists and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed in a resounding 116-92 victory over Portland, bullying the younger Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series Tuesday night.
Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and Tim Duncan added 12 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio.
More importantly for the Spurs, their bench contributed mightily after being of little help in the first-round series against Dallas.
Marco Belinelli had 19 points and the Australian connection of Aron Baynes — a former Washington State player — and Patty Mills had 10 points apiece.
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The Spurs had their most complete game of the postseason, playing with the flair and fluidity that resulted in the league’s best regular-season record.
Portland, meanwhile, didn’t come close to resembling the confident and sharpshooting group that upset Houston in the opening round.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 14 rebounds and Damian Lillard had 17 points for Portland, but the All-Star duo combined for 17 points in the first half as San Antonio built a 26-point lead.
Lillard was pushed out of the paint by 6-foot-7 Leonard early in the game and was nearly knocked off his feet defensively by a series of rugged picks.
It wasn’t any easier physically for Aldridge, who opened the game shooting 1 for 5 against Tiago Splitter and Baynes.
Heat beats Nets
MIAMI – Turns out, the Miami Heat can defeat the Brooklyn Nets.
And rest hardly led to rust for the two-time defending league champions.
LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the Nets 107-86 in Game 1 of an East semifinal series. It was the first victory for Miami in five meetings with Brooklyn this season.
“It’s one,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But I liked the energy, the activity.”
Chris Bosh scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade finished with 14 points for Miami, which recorded at least one regular-season victory against every team except Brooklyn.
A 24-9 run in the third quarter blew things open for the Heat, which hadn’t played in eight days after sweeping Charlotte in the opening round.
“It was great that we were able to come out the way we did after being off eight days,” James said.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson scored 17 points each for the Nets, who got a mere eight points from Paul Pierce. Kevin Garnett was scoreless in 16 minutes.
Game 2 is Thursday.
“This is the defending champs,” Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd said. “It’s always going to be at a high level and we’ve got to find a way to match it.”