Kyrie Irving responds to Boston fans; Bucks begin title defense with win

The opening weekend of the NBA playoffs is always one of the most exciting times on the league calendar, and the 2022 postseason got underway Saturday in typical fashion.

The four series openers began with a pair of lower-seeded teams stealing home-court advantage with Game 1 upsets, as the Jazz topped the Mavericks in Dallas and the Timberwolves stunned the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Then a couple championship hopefuls got breakout performances from young guards as Tyrese Maxey scored 38 points to lead the Sixers past the Raptors and Jordan Poole had 30 points to lift the Warriors over the Nuggets.

Sunday promises even more excitement with four more series openers.

The league-leading Suns look to continue their dominance against the Pelicans. The defending-champion Bucks start their road to a repeat against the Bulls. And the Celtics and Nets tip-off in what might be the most interesting series of the first round.

SATURDAY RECAP: Warriors and Sixers roll, Jazz and Wolves steal home-court

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FEEL THE HEAT: Nine stars facing the most pressure in the NBA playoffs

Follow along with USA TODAY Sports throughout the day for live updates and analysis from all of Sunday’s action:

Hawks guard Trae Young has a few words for the officials in the first half.

Bucks start title defense with win over Bulls

Everything looked ready as the Milwaukee Bucks began their quest for back-to-back NBA titles.

Fiserv Forum had a different energy before Game 1 on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls. There were white “Built for This” towels draped over every seat and a palpable playoff buzz in the arena that felt edgier than the 41 regular-season games.

The Bucks also started like they were keyed up on adrenaline. But all that energy soon dissipated and Milwaukee had to fight for a 93-86 victory in a slugfest despite 27 points and 16 rebounds for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Milwaukee’s lead in the first quarter ballooned to 32-16 when Bobby Portis drained a 3-pointer.

The opening adrenaline soon wore off and Milwaukee’s shots started clanging off the rim after going 14 for 26 (53.6%) in the…


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