Last night, the New Orleans Pelicans took care of the Orlando Magic, and Anthony Davis led the way with 29 points, 17 rebounds, 9 blocks and 3 steals! That had only been done 4 times in NBA history, and all by Hakeem Olajuwon. Davis' teammates Omer Asik (14 points 17 rebounds 5 blocks) and Ryan Anderson (22 points 9 rebounds) also had great nights. Anderson went off prior to the half, knocking down three 3s in less than a minute! Tyreke Evans filled the stat sheet as well, with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
For the Magic, Nikola Vucevic dominated the boards, grabbing 23 rebounds while battling Davis/Asik. Tobias Harris led Orlando in scoring with 25 points and added 8 rebounds, but was forced out of this game early after an apparent leg injury.
The Dallas Mavericks played the San Antonio Spurs in a playoff like atmosphere, and this one came down to Chandler Parsons missing a game winning 3 pointer at the buzzer. Parsons had an awful Mavericks debut, knocking down just 2 of his 10 shot attempts. In a losing effort, Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 26 points, handed out 6 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki finished with 18 points and 6 boards, passing up a chance to win the game for Dallas. Devin Harris added 17 points off the bench.
Tony Parker (23) and Manu Ginobili (20) led the Spurs in scoring and it was Parker's 3 ball with 1:07 left, that sealed the deal on banner night. Tim Duncan had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Matt Bonner got the start over Boris Diaw, but played just 15 minutes compared to Diaw's 33. San Antonio shot 50% from beyond the arc with 14 made attempts.
The excitment surrounded Kobe Bryant's return to the Lakers was quickly over after the Rockets jumped out to a 31-19 1st quarter lead. The Rockets took 50 free throw attempts, but made just 34 of them (68%). James Harden and Dwight Howard each took 16 FTA, Harden made 15 while Howard hit on just 7. Harden finished with a game high 32 points while adding 6 assists. Howard was in foul trouble and played just 21 minutes, but still managed 13 points and 11 rebounds. Terrence Jones also had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.Trevor Ariza picked up where he left off in Washington, knocking down 5 three pointers.
For the Lakers, this night will be remembered as the day Julius Randle's rookie season ended. Randle broke his leg in the 4th quarter. Ed Davis fouled out in 22 minutes, but managed to drop 11 points and grab 6 boards. The Lakers shot 35% from the field.
Tonight, we get 12 NBA matchups, including the return of Derrick Rose when the Chicago Bulls play Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden!
Nerlens Noel will finally make his NBA debut for the Philadelphia 76ers, and alongside him in the starting lineup will be K.J. McDaniels. Michael Carter-Williams is out to start the season, so Tony Wroten will lead this offense. The Sixers will head to Indianapolis to take on the Pacers, who look a bit different without Paul George, Lance Stephenson, David West and George Hill! Donald Sloan, C.J. Miles, Chris Copeland and Luis Scola will start next to Roy Hibbert. Rodney Stuckey will come off the bench.
Bucks @ Hornets
It's all about the debut of Jabari Parker, who will match up with Marvin Williams to start this one, who joined the team this offseason via trade from the Utah Jazz. Lance Stephenson is also new to the Hornets, and with Kemba Walker in the backcourt, Charlotte can make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Larry Sanders will have his hands full tonight with Al Jefferson. With Jason Kidd now running things in Milwaukee, it will be interesting to see how the team operates on offense. I am interested to see how he rotates his bigs (Parker/Sanders/Ersan Ilyasova/John Henson/Zaza Pachulia) as well as his backcourt (Giannis Antetokounmpo/Brandon Knight/O.J. Mayo/Jerryd Bayless/Nate Wolters/ Kendall Marshall).
Charolette selected Noah Vonleh in the draft, 9th overall, but a sports hernia has limited him and will keep him out for a while.
Nets @ Celtics
The last time the Nets played the Celtics, and Paul Pierce wasn't on either roster, was the 1997-98 season! Andrei Kirilenko slides into Pierce's spot in the Nets starting lineup. Mason Plumlee will get the start for the injured Brook Lopez (expect to see that a lot!). Should open up plenty of minutes for Mirza Teletovic as well with Kevin Garnett being 38 years old. If Rajon Rondo can't go tonight, Marcus Smart will make his NBA debut as the Celtics starting PG. A healthy Jared Sullinger is what keeps the Celtics competitive this season.
Wizards @ Heat
Norris Cole will start for Miami, beating out Mario Chalmers. Is Shawne Williams really going to start for the Miami Heat? REALLY?! YUCK. I get that Josh McRoberts is injured, but move Chris Bosh to the PF and start Chris Anderson, or play Luol Deng at PF and let Danny Granger start. I guess I should mention Dwyane Wade. Nene and DeJuan Blair will sit this one out, serving a suspension for leaving the bench during the preseason. Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries could but up some monster numbers for Washington. The Wizards will also be without Bradley Beal, who broke his wrist. The offense will run through John Wall and Paul Pierce. We should also get to see big minutes from Otto Porter Jr and Glen Rice Jr.
Hawks @ Raptors
The Hawks played the majority of last season without Al Horford, and still made the playoffs! While I don't love DeMarre Carroll/Kyle Korver starting on the same team, Horford/Paul Milsap is one of the bet frontcourts in the NBA. Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder will run the offense. Lou Williams was traded from Atlanta to Toronto this offseason. He adds much needed scoring on the Raptors second unit. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will look to lead the Raptors to another Atlantic Division title.
Bulls @ Knicks
Derrick Rose returns to the Bulls, but Chicago will be without Jimmy Butler for a couple weeks. Kirk Hinrich or Tony Snell will jump into the starting lineup. The same lineup that now features Pau Gasol at PF with Carlos Boozer in Los Angeles. Mike Dunleavy will start the season as the Bulls starting SF, but rookie Doug McDermott will shoot his way into the starting rotation. Joakim Noah is still the best passing center in the league. The Knicks will show off their triangle offense, and if that fails, will get out of Carmelo Anthony's way. Jason Smith could start at PF for the Knicks ahead of Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, but shouldn't lead them in minutes. Will be watching closely to see how Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway JR share minutes.
Timberwolves @ Grizzlies
Minnesota Timberwovles fans are used to watching their team play without Kevin Love, so this season won't be to hard to stomach. They did add Thaddeus Young, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Zach LaVine, which could be the start of something new in Minny. However, offenses tend to come to a complete stop when facing the Memphis Grizzlies, so don't expect anything extraordinary from Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic tonight. It's the usual suspects for the Grizzlies, with the addition of veteran Vince Carter and rookie Jordan Adams to provide a spark off the bench.
Pistons @ Nuggets
As usual the Denver roster is loaded, and deep at every position, which is great for real life, but makes owning them in fantasy basketball a bit difficult. So do all of the injuries they suffer on a yearly basis. Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and J.J. Hickson are healthy again and they brought back Arron Afflalo this offseason while adding Gary Harris and Jusuf Nurkic via the draft. This is a contract year for Greg Monroe, so expect him to put up nice numbers off the bench for Detroit. Still think Josh Smith/Monroe/Andre Drummond can work, so hopefully they go back to that experiment at some point this season. Any offense will struggle when Brandon Jennings and Smith start chucking up shots.
Rockets @ Jazz
The Rockets open the season with back-to-back road games, but the nice part about Dwight Howard being in foul trouble, is that he should be well rested for tonight's game. Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert will have their hands full.
Lakers @ Suns
The Lakers are also playing back-to-back to start the season and it will be a true test to Kobe's conditioning, to see if he can play 30 minutes on back-to-back nights. Eric Bledsoe will have the honor of guarding the Black Mamba. Look for Ed Davis to get extended minutes with Julius Randle out. P.J. Tucker is out thanks to a DUI, Marcus Morris will start in his place, next to his twin brother Markieff Morris. Gerald Green should see extended playing time as well, while rookie T.J. Warren recovers from an injury.
Warriors @ Kings
The Kings offense will be run by Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions and will feature a heavy workload for DeMarcus Cousins in the paint and a long night for Andrew Bogut on the defensive end, if he plays. Rudy Gay could end the night with an ugly box score as Andre Iguodala will be all over him. Will be fun to see the Ben McLemore/Nik Stauskas battle play itself out this season, as well as the PF battle between Jason Thompson/Carl Landry/Derrick Williams. Golden State has a true identity on offense, so there is no need to worry about Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. David Lee is out with a hamstring injury. Business as usual.
Thunder @ Trail Blazers
Preview of the Western Conference Finals? This game won't be as good as it could be, with Kevin Durant, Reggie Jackson, Anthony Morrow and Jeremy Lamb out for the Thunder. But that is no excuse, the Thunder will just lean heavily on Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Perry Jones will get the start for OKC. Portland is one of the few teams starting the same 5 from last season. They added Steve Blake and Chris Kaman to bolster their second unit. LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 26 points per game against the Thunder last season over 4 games and nearly 14 rebounds!