By The Associated Press
The Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a Game 1 stunner in Boston without their MVP — and maybe the MVP of the whole league.
And the Phoenix Suns watched Chris Paul walk off with an injury, making a bad start to their series with the Denver Nuggets seem even worse.
Philadelphia — without Joel Embiid — remained the only unbeaten team left in these NBA playoffs by topping Boston 119-115 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, behind a 45-point masterpiece from James Harden.
Nikola Jokic scored 39 points and Denver topped Phoenix 97-87, a game where the Nuggets trailed by eight points in the third quarter when Paul got hurt. The Nuggets then went on a 46-26 run over the next 16 minutes to take control.
Tuesday’s schedule has Game 2 of the Miami-New York series, and Game 1 of the Western Conference series between Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Philadelphia will play Game 2 at Boston on Wednesday.
HOW TO WATCH
— The Heat-Knicks and Lakers-Warriors matchups are on TNT. That doubleheader will be preceded by the announcement of this season’s MVP at 7 p.m. Eastern, also on TNT.
— Wednesday’s 76ers-Celtics game is on TNT.
— Thursday’s Lakers-Warriors game is on ESPN.
— Team broadcasters will no longer air games. Everything after the first round is exclusive to national windows and not available for local telecasts.
— The NBA Finals on ABC begin June 1.
50 FOR 5-0
Philadelphia is the 50th team to start a postseason run 5-0, and the first team to do so since Miami and Boston in 2020. Of those 50, 16 went on to win the NBA title — including the 76ers in 1983.
Miami is the first No. 8 seed in NBA history to win five of its first six playoff games. Philadelphia (2012), Memphis (2011), Golden State (2007) and New York (1999) all started 4-2 in those postseason runs.
Denver’s 6-1 start to this year’s playoffs matches a franchise-best. The Nuggets also opened 6-1 in the 2009 playoffs.
— Phoenix’s Kevin Durant is eight points from passing Karl Malone (4,761) for 7th on the playoff all-time scoring list.
— Stephen Curry — who in Round 1 passed Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Scottie Pippen, Dirk Nowitzki, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Havlicek to reach 13th on the playoff career scoring list — opens Golden State’s series against the Lakers trailing No. 12 Larry Bird by 91 points.
The NBA is ready to hand out the MVP trophy. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo or Denver’s two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic will be announced on Tuesday as the winner of the league’s top individual award.
A recap of this season’s awards revealed thus far:
— April 17: Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. won Defensive Player of the Year.
— April 18: De’Aaron Fox of Sacramento won the inaugural Clutch Player award.
— April 19: Sacramento’s Mike Brown became the first unanimous Coach of the Year.
— April 20: Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon won Sixth Man of the Year.
— April 24: Utah’s Lauri Markkanen was the easy winner of Most Improved Player.
— April 25: Orlando’s Paolo Banchero was a near-unanimous Rookie of the Year.
“Hopefully it’ll be a sunny day so I can be in my swimming pool.” — Denver’s two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, on where he planned to spend Tuesday while this year’s MVP award winner is announced.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports