Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Magic Win in First Games of Playoffs

LeBron James scored 32 points as the Miami Heat defeated the New York Knicks 100-67 in the first game of their best-of-seven National Basketball Association playoff series.

In other games yesterday, the Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Dallas Mavericks 99-98, the Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers 103-91 and the Orlando Magic defeated the Indiana Pacers 81-77.

At AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, James hit 10-of-14 field goal attempts and 11-of-14 free throws, while Dwyane Wade added 19 for the Heat, who have a 1-0 advantage in their Eastern Conference series.

“I’m a different player this year, a different person this year compared to last year,” James told reporters. “I’ve waited to get back to the postseason, prepared myself all season, throughout the offseason, to get back to this point.”

The Heat had a 32-2 run that straddled halftime when Miami went to the locker room with a 54-31 lead before a home crowd. Miami also capitalized on 27 Knicks’ turnovers, converting them into 38 points.

“Our guys had a noticeable look in their eyes the last 24 hours,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We wanted to get back to the basics and play to our identity. For the most part, we were able to do that by being aggressive.”

‘Series Not Over’

J.R. Smith came off the bench to score 17 points and Carmelo Anthony had 10 for the Knicks, who recorded their worst playoff loss since April 25, 1991, when they lost 126-85 to the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks will seek to tie the series at 1-1 tomorrow when they meet the Heat for Game 2.

“This series is not over,” Amar’e Stoudemire told reporters. “We’ve got to learn from our mistakes today and get ready for Monday.”

Rookie guard Iman Shumpert tore his anterior cruciate ligament and the lateral meniscus when he twisted his knee in the third quarter. The injuries will require surgery followed by rehabilitation of six to eight months.

At Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant hit a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer, nine seconds after Dirk Nowitzki had put the Mavericks ahead 98-97 on two free throws.

Russell Westbrook had 28 points, Durant contributed 25 and Serge Ibaka scored 22 points for the Thunder, who trailed 51-48 at halftime.

Nowitzki was high-scorer for the Mavericks with 25 points and Jason Terry added 20.

The second-seeded Thunder hosts Game 2 against the Mavericks tomorrow.

At Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson each scored 17 points for the Magic. David West led the Pacers with 19 points.

The teams meet tomorrow for Game 2 of the Western Conference matchup.

Knee Injury

At the United Center in Chicago, Derrick Rose scored 23 points for the Bulls before leaving with a season-ending knee injury.

Rose also had nine rebounds and nine assists as the Bulls, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, never trailed after taking a 4-3 lead. Richard Hamilton added 19 points, Luol Deng scored 17 and Joakim Noah had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Elton Brand scored 19 points to lead eighth-seeded Philadelphia.

Chicago hosts Game 2 in the best-of-seven, first-round series on May 1.

In today’s series-openers, the Utah Jazz travel to the Western Conference top-seeded San Antonio Spurs; the Denver Nuggets visit the Los Angeles Lakers; the Atlanta Hawks host the Boston Celtics; and the Memphis Grizzlies are home against the Los Angeles Clippers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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