NBA: 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 the Western Conference semifinals 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 virtually non-existent in the series against Dallas.
Marco Belinelli had 19 points and the Australian connection of former Washington State standout Aron Baynes and Patty Mills had 10 points apiece.
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 sharp-shooting 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 just 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 blistering picks.
It wasn’t any easier physically for Aldridge, who opened the game shooting 1 for 5 against Tiago Splitter and Baynes.
Splitter had an early steal on a pass to Aldridge and nearly had a second when he poked a dribble away as the 6-11 forward attempted to push his way into the block. Splitter hit the court in a failed attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds, but it mattered little as the tone had been set for a long night for Aldridge and the Trail Blazers.
• Heat rout Nets: LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Miami Heat stayed perfect in this postseason by beating the visiting Brooklyn Nets 107-86 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Chris Bosh scored 15 points, Dwyane Wade added 14 and Mario Chalmers had 12 for Miami, which was 0-4 against the Nets in the regular season.
A 24-9 run in the third quarter blew things open for the Heat, who hadn’t played in eight days after sweeping Charlotte in the opening round.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson scored 17 points each for the Nets, who got only eight from Paul Pierce and no points from Kevin Garnett in 16 minutes.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven is Thursday night.
Jackson fired by Golden State
NBA: The Golden State Warriors have fired Mark Jackson, ending the franchise’s most successful coaching tenure in the past two decades but also one filled with drama and distractions.
General manager Bob Myers thanked Jackson in a statement for “his role in helping elevate this team into a better position than it was when he arrived nearly 36 months ago.” Myers says it was a difficult decision but the Warriors “simply feel it’s best to move in a different direction at this time.”
Jackson’s three seasons with the Warriors will be remembered for the way he helped turn a perennially losing franchise into a consistent winner and the bold and bombastic way in which he did it.
• Clippers president out: Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser is taking an indefinite leave of absence while the NBA restructures the franchise in the wake of owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban.
“This will provide an opportunity for a new CEO to begin on a clean slate and for the team to stabilize under difficult circumstances,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
• Casey receives extension: Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey has agreed to a three-year contract extension after Toronto won a franchise-record 48 games this season.
This was Casey’s third season with the team. Toronto won the Atlantic Division for the second time and ended a six-year playoff drought, losing to Brooklyn in seven games in the first round.
Subban stays hot in Montreal’s win
NHL: P.K. Subban is having a series to remember for the Montreal Canadiens.
Subban, Dale Weise and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist, Carey Price made 26 saves, and Montreal beat the visiting Boston Bruins 4-2 to take the lead in their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Canadiens are up 2-1 with Game 4 set for Thursday.
Subban, the 2013 Norris trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman, has two points in each of the three games of the series and 11 points in seven playoff games so far.
“I’m just the beneficiary of the guys playing well around me, supporting me,” Subban said. “It starts in goal. Well, it actually starts with our coaching staff and making sure everybody is feeling confident. We’re doing it together. … When we had adversity, we’re sticking together doing the right things.
“It’s fun to play on teams where you know guys are going to support you.”
Tomas Plekanec also scored for the Canadiens, who were outplayed for long stretches but made the most of quick-strike attacks.
Patrice Bergeron and Andrej Meszaros scored for the Bruins.
• Minnesota blanks Chicago: Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund scored goals less than 3 minutes apart early in the third period, and the Minnesota Wild recovered from a sluggish start for a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series at St. Paul, Minn.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves for his first shutout in the playoffs in eight years, and the Blackhawks had their lead whittled to 2-1 with their first loss in 2 1/2 weeks.
Zach Parise put the exclamation point on the win with a power-play goal, the first in 25 chances for the Wild over their last two playoff series against the Blackhawks. Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is Friday in Minnesota.
Laviolette hired to coach Nashville
NHL: The Nashville Predators have hired Peter Laviolette as their new coach, making him only the second head coach in the franchise’s history.
General manager David Poile says that Laviolette having won a Stanley Cup as a coach knows what it will take to help the Predators reach its ultimate goal of a championship.
He coached Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006 and took Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. He was fired in October after the Flyers lost their first three games of the season.
• Babcock among finalists: Former Spokane Chiefs coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings, Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche are finalists for the Jack Adams Award.
The NHL Broadcasters’ Association voted for the top coach after the regular season. The winner is announced June 24 in Las Vegas.