NBA: Clippers and Bulls win Conference semi-final openers

Blake Griffin recorded a triple-double as the Los Angeles Clippers claimed a 117-101 road victory over the Houston Rockets in Game One of their Western Conference semi-final.

Griffin, the Clippers’ star power forward, finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists as the Clippers, who were without injured point guard Chris Paul, took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Guard Jamal Crawford also scored 21 points off the bench and forward Matt Barnes added 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

The Paul-less starting backcourt of JJ Redick and Austin Rivers combined for 34 points and the Rockets committed 23 turnovers, resulting in 34 points for the Clippers.

Center Dwight Howard posted 22 points and 10 rebounds, while guard James Harden tallied 20 points and 12 assists but also had a game-high nine turnovers.

Houston forward Trevor Ariza scored 11 of his 17 points by the mid-point of the first quarter, but the Rockets struggled offensively.

Meanwhile, Derrick Rose scored 25 points and Pau Gasol added 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-92 in Game One of their Eastern Conference semi-final.

The Bulls led by as many as 16 points and never trailed.

The Cavs tied the game twice in the third quarter, but the Bulls countered by scoring the next 15 points, leaving the Cavs to play catch-up the entire evening.

The Cavs were within 94-90 in the final minute but Chicago guard Jimmy Butler banked in a jump shot over center Tristan Thompson to seal the victory.

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 30 points and forward LeBron James had 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, but they were unable to prevent the Cavs losing their first play-off game this post-season after sweeping the Boston Celtics in the first round.

They will be without forward Kevin Love (shoulder) for the rest of the post-season and guard JR Smith (suspension) for the first two games of this series.