May 05, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) Blake Griffin had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double to lift the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers to a 117-101 victory over Houston on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Houston scored five straight points to cut the lead to one with about 7 1/2 minutes left. Matt Barnes got the Clippers going after that, making two 3-pointers in a 12-0 run that made it 101-88 3 minutes later, and the Clippers coasted to the victory.

Paul, who has a strained left hamstring, missed his first game of the season. But Jamal Crawford had 21 points and Barnes added 20 to help pick up the slack.

Dwight Howard led Houston with 22 points and James Harden added 20.

Houston was well-rested after having six days off after beating Dallas in five games. The Clippers showed no signs of fatigue despite having only about 48 hours to get ready for this series after eliminating defending champion San Antonio in Game 7 on Saturday night.

Griffin, who also had a triple-double on Saturday, has three this postseason.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

BULLS 99, CAVALIERS 92

CLEVELAND (AP) - Derrick Rose scored 25 points and Pau Gasol added 21, leading Chicago in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Looking like the MVP he was before being slowed by knee injuries, Rose helped the Bulls swipe home-court advantage from the Cavs, who were missing starters Kevin Love and J.R. Smith.

Jimmy Butler added 20 points and banked in a contested jumper with 30 seconds left as the Bulls closed it out.

Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and LeBron James added 19 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland, playing its first game since Love was lost for the remainder of the postseason with a shoulder injury.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

Finally fully healthy after dealing with injuries all season, the Bulls are peaking at the perfect time. Coming off a 54-point win over Milwaukee to wrap up its opening-round series, Chicago took control from the start, withstood a Cleveland comeback and buckled down on defense in the closing minutes to hand Cleveland just its second loss in 24 home games.

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