Bucks, Antetokounmpo roll past Pistons 121-86 in series opener

Giannis Antetokounmpo ran and dunked on the Pistons until they shoved him to the ground.

The team with the NBA’s best record wanted to show it can make a long playoff run, and the Pistons couldn’t slow Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in 24 minutes, and the host Bucks rolled to a 121-86 win Sunday night in the opener of their first-round playoff series.

“I don’t know if they were ready for us,” Antetokounmpo said, “but we just try to focus on ourselves. We just try to play with pace, run to our spots and try to make plays.”

Seven players scored in double figures for the Bucks, who led by as many as 43 points. Their 35-point margin was third largest in the franchise’s playoff history.

The Pistons caught up to Antetokounmpo only when center Andre Drummond shoved him to the ground late in the third quarter, after the MVP candidate grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 points.

Drummond was given a flagrant-2 foul and ejected. He blew a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he was escorted off the court.

“As a team, we talked about it, to try to keep our composure whenever the opposing team tries to foul us hard or tries to hit us or play dirty,” Antetokounmpo said.

Luke Kennard scored 21 points off the bench for Detroit, which was without forward Blake Griffin, out with a left knee injury.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

Rockets 122, Jazz 90: James Harden had 29 points and 10 assists as host Houston routed Utah in a playoff opener. Each of Houston’s starters scored in double figures. Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jazz and Donovan Mitchell had 19 points, but he did not have an assist as Utah went long stretches without scoring. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.

Trail Blazers 104, Thunder 99: Damian Lillard scored 30 points and Portland opened with a home victory against Oklahoma City. Enes Kanter added 20 points and a career-playoff-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers. The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth postseason triple-double. Game 2 is Tuesday night at the Moda Center.

Celtics 84, Pacers 74: Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris each had 20 points, and host Boston rallied in the second half to beat Indiana to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. The Pacers led by 11 points in the first half but had just eight points in the third quarter. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Boston.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bucks-Antetokounmpo-roll-past-Pistons-121-86-in-13767408.php.

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