Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Harden, Houston spoil another opener, win 105-100 at Kings

 James Harden had 27 points and nine assists, and the Houston Rockets made it a perfect two-game road trip to start the season despite playing this one without Chris Paul, beating the Sacramento Kings 105-100 on Wednesday night.
While he didn't shoot especially well, Harden hit a trio of dagger 3-pointers with 8:13, 6:00 and 5:13 left - the second of which put Houston ahead 89-79. He also had a key left-handed layup late and finished 8 for 21 and 4 of 14 from 3-point range.
Sacramento forced the Rockets into a shot clock violation and the Kings got the ball back with just less than a minute remaining and down 96-92. Willie Cauley-Stein made one of two free throws with 41 seconds left and Harden found Clint Capela for an alley-oop dunk moments later.
After the Kings stole the inbounds pass from Eric Gordon with 25 seconds left and down 98-95, it was initially ruled Sacramento ball but the play went to replay review and a foul was issued to George Hill instead. Gordon converted two free throws.
Capela had 22 points and matched his career high with 17 rebounds. Paul sat out with a bruised left knee that limited him during Houston's stunning comeback 122-121 win at Golden State on Tuesday after the Warriors held their championship ring ceremony.
Gordon started for Paul and scored 25 points with four 3-pointers, a night after missing all six of his tries from long range but still winding up with 24 points in 29 minutes.
Buddy Hield scored 10 of his 19 points in the third quarter for Sacramento and tied the game at 68 on a 3-pointer with 3:33 left in the period. Cauley-Stein had 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Rockets looked sluggish at times in the second game of a season-opening back-to-back. Yet Houston had enough to win its sixth straight in the series after winning all four games last season.
Zach Randolph missed making his Kings debut a day after undergoing oral surgery, but Vince Carter and Hill provided a veteran presence for the new-look Kings as they move forward beginning the season without DeMarcus Cousins after he was traded to New Orleans last February. Hill scored 16 points and Carter six in 14 minutes.
Both teams took a while to find their touch, with the Kings beginning the game 4 for 13 and the Rockets 3 for 10.
AILING PAUL
Coach Mike D'Antoni isn't counting on Paul being back Saturday for the home opener against Dallas.
"It's not a concern, it's just nagging," D'Antoni said. "We'll sit him until the training staff thinks he's ready to go and try to get over it totally."
Paul had four points and shot 2 for 9 at Golden State on Tuesday night but was limited by soreness in the knee. He led the Rockets with 11 assists and also grabbed eight rebounds, while playing 33 minutes in his regular-season debut with Houston after being traded by the Clippers during the offseason.
TIP-INS
Rockets: The Rockets were 13-3 in the second game of back-to-backs last season. The have 14 such sets, 13 remaining. ... Trevor Ariza was held to two points on free throws, shooting 0 for 6 and missing all five of his 3s. ... Houston's schedule includes seven of its first 10 games on the road. ... P.J. Tucker had just six points while dealing with foul trouble after scoring 20 points in his Rockets debut at Golden State.
Kings: Rookie De'Aaron Fox out of Kentucky drew big cheers when he checked in for his debut late in the first and finished with 14 points, five assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. ... Second-year Golden 1 Center hosted its first season opener after the Kings began on the road last season.
UP NEXT
Rockets: Host Dallas on Saturday in home opener.
Kings: At Dallas on Friday to start a three-game road trip.

Blazers hand Suns worst loss ever in season opener, 124-76

 Damian Lillard scored 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers opened the season by handing the Phoenix Suns the most one-sided loss in the franchise's 49-year history, 124-76 on Wednesday night.
Pat Connaughton added a career-high 24 points, making 4 of 6 3-pointers. The Trail Blazers outshot, outrebounded and outhustled the Suns from the opening tip.
The 48-point rout exceeded Phoenix's previous record, a 44-point loss to Seattle (151-107) on April 2, 1988.
The Blazers dominated even though they were without one of their best players, guard C.J. McCollum, who was suspended one game for leaving the bench area during a tussle involving Phoenix's Alex Len and Caleb Swanigan in a preseason game a week ago.
Portland led 60-35 at the half and outscored the Suns 64-41 in the second. The Blazers led by as many as 58, for a time flirting with the most one-sided game in NBA history, a 68-point blowout of the Miami Heat by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 17, 1991.
The Suns shot 31.5 percent to Portland's 49 percent, made 7 of 27 3-pointers to the Blazers' 14 of 24 and were outrebounded 57-33.
Phoenix had the league's second-worst record last season at 24-58 and looked at least that bad throughout the opener.
Eric Bledsoe scored 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Devin Booker added 12 on 6-of-17 shooting. Bledsoe was 1 for 6 on 3s, Booker 0 for 3.
Portland's bench outscored Phoenix's 61-26.
After Booker's 13-footer tied it at 17, Lillard sank a layup and the Blazers bolted away from there.
Bledsoe's three-point play cut the lead to 45-35 with 4:38 left in the third quarter, but Portland scored the final 15 points of the half and was up 60-35 at the break.
The Suns shot 29 percent in the first half (14 for 49) to Portland's 44 percent (22 for 50). Phoenix was 1 for 11 from 3-point range in the first two quarters to the Blazers' 7 of 13. Most tellingly, the Portland bench outscored its Phoenix counterparts 24-0.
The Blazers led a numbing 98-55 entering the final quarter.
TIP-INS
Trail Blazers: The one-game suspension, for taking a few steps off the bench in a preseason game, cost McCollum $165,000. .... Connaughton, a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, had a previous career high of 15 points. ... Portland had six players in double figures. ... Blazers have won four consecutive season openers. ... Trail Blazers don't play their home opener until next Tuesday against New Orleans.
Suns: Len sat out the game with a sprained left ankle. He was injured in Saturday's practice. ... Rookie Josh Jackson started and made a 3-pointer with his first shot, but was 2 for 8 the rest of the way with only two rebounds. ... Marquese Chriss made 1 of 5 shots and had one rebound and five fouls in 12:05 minutes.
UP NEXT
Trail Blazers: At Indiana on Friday night.
Suns: Host Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Aldridge's double-double leads Spurs by Timberwolves, 107-99

 LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs held on for a 107-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night while opening the season without leading scorer Kawhi Leonard.
The Spurs were without Leonard and Tony Parker, but they had enough to hold off the revamped Timberwolves.
Minnesota bolstered its young lineup with the addition of veterans Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague. The quartet helped the Wolves rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but the Timberwolves only managed two field goals after taking a 92-91 lead with 5:02 remaining on an 18-foot jumper by Butler.
Butler finished with 12 points and Crawford had 10. Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 26 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 18.
Aldridge had one of his most complete games with the Spurs, two days after signing a three-year, $72 million extension. He shot 9 for 21 from the field and had four assists.
He was limited to five attempts in the first quarter as the Spurs did not go out of their way to get the ball to their 6-foot-11 forward, but instead let him ease into the contest.
It's part of San Antonio's plans to make Aldridge more comfortable after two frustrating seasons with the Spurs.
Aldridge's running dunk on a bounce pass from Manu Ginobili gave the Spurs a 100-92 lead with 1:42 remaining.
Ginobili finished nine points and four assists, including a 3-pointer within a minute of entering the game midway through the first quarter. Ginobili received a huge ovation similar to the one he got in the team's final game last season when fans were not sure if he would return.
Danny Green added 17 points while shooting 3 for 7 on 3-pointers. Dejounte Murray had 16 points, five rebounds and two assists while starting in place of Parker.
TIP-INS
Wolves: Minnesota's last victory over San Antonio came April 8, 2014, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves have lost 12 straight to the Spurs and eight straight in San Antonio. . After being one of the league's youngest teams the past few seasons, Minnesota has only one rookie on its roster this season, 7-foot center Justin Patton. . Patton missed the season opener while recovering from surgery on his left foot.
Spurs: San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said there is no timetable for Leonard's return from right quadriceps tendinopathy. . Parker plans on returning in mid-November from left quadriceps tendon surgery. . San Antonio swept all four games against Minnesota last season, winning by an average of 9.0 points. . San Antonio is coming off back-to-back, 60-win seasons, the first time in franchise history they have achieved that feat. . The Spurs have won 128 regular-season games since Aldridge joined the team, which is the best two-year span in the franchise's history. The second-best mark came the two years prior to Aldridge's arrival, when the team won 122 games.
UP NEXT
Wolves: Host Utah on Friday.
Spurs: Visit Chicago on Saturday.

Burks takes over in 4th, Jazz beat Nuggets 106-96

 Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 106-96 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
The new-look Jazz - without Gordon Hayward and George Hill - trailed most of the night before Alec Burks took over with a spectacular fourth quarter. The athletic seventh-year wing has missed most of the last three seasons due to a litany of injuries, but showed no lingering effects.
Burks scored 12 points during a 25-4 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters. The Jazz trailed 83-78 going into the fourth quarter. Burks threw down a dunk, hit a pair 3-pointers and then gave the Jazz a 94-85 lead off a reverse layup. He finished with 16.
Utah picked up the defense in the final period, which helped extend the run to 31-5 and put away Denver.
Derrick Favors added 14 and Ricky Rubio had 10 assists in his first game with the Jazz.
Will Barton led the Nuggets with 23 points and Paul Millsap added 19.
The Nuggets took a 58-49 lead into halftime, sparked by a 17-4 first-quarter run. Denver was 9 for 16 from 3-point range in the first half.
TIP-INS
Nuggets: Jamal Murray started at point guard and Emmanuel Mudiay came off the bench. ... Denver was outscored 28-13 in the fourth quarter. ... Nikola Jokic finished with seven points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Jazz: Rodney Hood was pulled out of the starting lineup at the last second due to gastric distress. Rookie Donovan Mitchell made his first career start in his place. Hood entered later in the first quarter. ... Dante Exum(left shoulder) and Raul Neto (right hamstring) were both out.
YOUNG DUO
Nuggets coach Michael Malone downplayed the significance of which of his young point guards started the game. Denver fans are eager to see how the two early draft picks play together and how the minutes are distributed. Mudiay was the No. 7 overall pick in 2015 and Murray was No. 7 in 2016.
"It's going to be a great challenge for them," Malone said. "We feel confident in both Jamal and Emanuel. They're both going to get great opportunities to play regardless of who's starting.
"When they're struggling, the great about our team is we're not solely relying on those guys to carry our team. We play through our big guys so much that the true point guard is really not around that much anymore. Nikola and Paul are our facilitators, our playmakers."
UP NEXT
Nuggets: Denver hosts George Hill and the Sacramento Kings in their home opener on Saturday.
Jazz: Utah travels to face Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday in Rubio's first game against his former team.

Hawks, Schroder spoil Smith's debut, top Mavericks 117-111

 Dennis Schroder scored 28 points in his first game as the front man for Atlanta and the rebuilding Hawks spoiled rookie Dennis Smith Jr.'s solid Dallas debut, beating the Mavericks 117-111 in the opener Wednesday night.
Marco Belinelli, a familiar face for the Mavericks as a former rival with San Antonio, added 20 points and was 4 of 6 from 3-point range to help the Hawks in their first game after letting Paul Millsap leave in free agency and dumping Dwight Howard.
Smith scored his first NBA points on an alley-oop dunk to open the Dallas scoring and finished with 16 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting and the 39-year-old German joined Kobe Bryant (Lakers) as the only players to reach 20 seasons with the same franchise. He was on the bench in the back-and-forth closing minutes.
Dewayne Dedmon followed a miss by Schroder for a layup to put Atlanta up 113-111 with 58 seconds left. Taurean Prince rebounded a missed 3 from Belinelli with the shot clock off and made both free throws for a four-point lead.
Schroder, Nowitzki's German countryman, was 13 of 26 from the field and led the Hawks with seven assists. All but three of his shots were inside the 3-point line.
The 19-year-old Smith, the ninth overall pick and Dallas' most important draft choice since Nowitzki 19 years ago, wasn't the only first-round rookie to play well. Atlanta's John Collins, the 19th pick, scored 14 points.
Nerlens Noel matched Smith with 16 points, his most since coming to Dallas at the trading deadline last season, and had 11 rebounds. Wesley Matthews scored all of his 15 points in the second half.
TIP-INS
Hawks: Prince had 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Hawks outrebounded the Mavericks 50-41. ... Schroder capped a 12-0 run late in the first half with a layup for a 56-45 lead, and the Hawks led by that margin at halftime.
Mavericks: G Seth Curry, Golden State star Stephen Curry's younger brother, missed the opener with a stress fracture in his lower left leg. He's out indefinitely. ... Smith asked out of the game and limped through the tunnel in the second quarter after landing awkwardly on his left leg when he was fouled on a dunk. He returned later in the quarter.
UP NEXT
Hawks: At Charlotte on Friday night.
Mavericks: Sacramento at home Friday night in a "20-20" matchup: Vince Carter, Nowitzki's former teammate, is also in his 20th season.

Conley, rookie Brooks lead Grizzlies past Pelicans 103-91

 Mike Conley scored 27 points, rookie Dillon Brooks added 19 and the Memphis Grizzlies built beat the New Orleans Pelicans 103-91 in their season opener on Wednesday night.
Marc Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 3:05 left. Memphis won its opener for the second straight year, a first in franchise history.
Anthony Davis had 33 points and 18 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 10 boards for New Orleans, but the frontcourt pair got little help. The Pelicans shot 38 percent, including 7 of 25 from 3-point range.
Memphis, which carried a 79-70 lead into the fourth, stretched the margin to 13 in the early stages of the final period.
Davis and Cousins helped the Pelicans build an early lead, but Memphis countered with nine straight points to open the second quarter and the game settled into a close one. The Grizzlies held a 54-52 lead at halftime.
Memphis made it 77-65 in the latter stages of the third and cruised from there.
TIP-INS
Pelicans: G Tony Allen, who played seven years for Memphis, was featured in a video tribute between the first and second quarters. The team recently announced that no one would wear Allen's No. 9 for the franchise again. Earlier in the day, Allen wrote a thank you letter to the city on the Players' Tribune website. ... New Orleans had eight blocks in the first quarter, a franchise record for blocks in a period. ... Davis is dealing with strep throat.
Grizzlies: Andrew Harrison, who won a preseason battle with Wade Baldwin IV for one of the last roster spots, started alongside Conley at guard. ... Brooks started 3 of 4 from the field, finishing 7 of 13. ... Memphis is now 5-18 in season openers but has won three of four.
UP NEXT
Pelicans: Play home opener Friday night against defending champion Golden State.
Grizzlies: Host Golden State on Saturday night.

Greek Freak (37 points) leads Bucks past Celtics, 108-100

 Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbled into the paint, spun to his left and found his path to the basket blocked by Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum.
Instead, the Greek Freak fed the ball to Matthew Dellavedovabeyond the arc for the 3-pointer that helped seal Milwaukee's 108-100 victory over the Boston Celtics in the Bucks' season opener on Wednesday night.
"I passed the ball to Delly," said Antetokounmpo, who had 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter- and the biggest assist of the game, as well. "And that's what Delly does."
One night after a gruesome broken ankle just six minutes into the season cost Boston top free agent Gordon Hayward - perhaps for the entire year - the Celtics fell to 0-2 by giving up an 11-1 run that left Milwaukee with a 97-90 lead and under three minutes to play.
Antetokounmpo added 13 rebounds, Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points and Khris Middleton had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks. Dellavedova scored 15 points, including the 3-pointer with 45 seconds left after the Celtics cut the lead to two points.
"I thought Giannis made a great play at the end, trusting his teammate," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "Just to trust his teammate down at the end to make a play ... he got off the ball and Delly made a big shot."
Kyrie Irving scored 17 points on 7-for-25 shooting in his Boston debut, and Jaylen Brown had 18 in a subdued home opener for the Celtics, who underwent a near-complete overhaul over the summer even after earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season.
Although Irving and No. 3 draft pick Jayson Tatum appeared in a Celtics home uniform for the first time, Hayward was left to wish them well in a pregame video in his hospital gown from his hospital bed. After cheering Hayward during his scoreboard appearance, the Celtics fans broke into a chant of his name during the first half.
"Like he told us before the game, we got that message - before the whole arena got the message - he's fine," Celtics guard Terry Rozier said. "Personally, it was tough seeing, but I think we'll be fine. We've just got to adjust."
But the team was unable to make up for the absence of the player who was expected to be their key offseason acquisition when he signed a four-year, $128 million contract to rejoin Brad Stevens, his college coach, in Boston.
The Celtics trailed by seven heading into the third quarter before scoring 14 of the next 16 points, taking a 69-64 lead on Irving's 3-pointer from the top of the key. But the Bucks regained the lead with six minutes to play, holding Boston without a basket for about five minutes.
FIGHTING WORDS
Boston's Marcus Smart and Dellavedova traded hard fouls early in the second quarter, leading to some shoving and a technical foul for the Celtics guard. First, Smart went to the floor with a bit of a hip check. Later, Smart seemed to embellish his fall when Dellavedova ran into his screen.
Smart came up and put his chest into the Bucks guard, and Milwaukee's John Henson reached in to try to restrain him. Dellavedova was called for a common foul and Smart was given a technical.
TIP-INS
Bucks: Returned to the road for their season opener. Before opening at home the past two seasons, the Bucks had tipped off on the road for 30 years in a row. ... Greg Monroe went to the locker room in the first quarter with a cut on the side of his head, near his right eye, and said he had "a couple of" stitches. He and finished with 10 points in 17 minutes.... Antetokounmpo's 37 points were the third-most in his career.
Celtics: No. 3 overall draft pick Tatum had eight points and nine rebounds. ... Brown had his left wrist taped after the game and said "sprained it or something."
UP NEXT
Bucks: Host Cleveland on Friday night.
Celtics: Visit Philadelphia on Friday night.

John Wall scores 28 points, Wizards hold on to beat 76ers

 Bradley Beal threw the best lob of his life to John Wall, and the Washington star finished the alley-oop that the longtime teammates are accustomed to making.
The experienced Wizards made the plays to beat the young Philadelphia 76ers 120-115 on Wednesday night in the season opener for each team. The NBA debuts of Sixers top picks Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz took a back seat to Wall and Beal getting the job done despite not having their best shooting performances.
Wall scored 28 points on 10-of-28 shooting and had eight assists, and his 15-second stretch in the fourth quarter with a layup, block and pass to Marcin Gortat for a dunk showed what he could do in crucial moments.
"When John was making some of those dunks, I was telling our coaches, `I cannot believe he just did that,'" Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "Those are things that point guards don't do, and he just does it so easy."
This wasn't an easy victory for the Wizards, who survived in the final minute when Philadelphia turned the ball over twice and J.J. Redick missed a 3-pointer. And although Brooks and his players were happy to win, the Sixers earned plenty of respect from a team that was one victory away from the Eastern Conference final.
"No matter if they're a young team or not, those are games you kind of want to take away from them and don't give them any confidence, but they gave us a great test," Wall said.
Sixers forward Robert Covington had 29 points.
Simmons, the 2016 No. 1 pick who missed all last season with a foot injury, had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 pick, came off the bench to score 10 points.
Sixers coach Brett Brown called Simmons' first regular-seasn game "really, really exceptional" and was impressed with how Fultz played after shoulder and knee injuries limited him in the preseason. Losing close to the Wizards was a welcome to the NBA moment for the rookies.
"To make that effort against this team - probably one of the top three teams in the conference - it's tough," said Fultz, who is from nearby Upper Marlboro, Maryland. "I thought we did well in our first game, and we have to learn from it."
TIP-INS
76ers: Jerryd Bayless started in place of Fultz and had 13 points. ... Fans chanted "Trust the Process" several times during the game, drawing the ire of the home crowd.
Wizards: Beal finished with 25 points. ... Jason Smith, starting at power forward with Markieff Morris out roughly the first month after sports hernia surgery, played just 7:04 before leaving with a sprained right shoulder. Brooks expects to know more Thursday. ... Kelly Oubre Jr. had 14 points in replacing Smith. ... Opened at home for the first time since 2011 and for the first time in an 82-game season since 2008.
WHAT MINUTES RESTRICTION?
So much for the idea that Sixers center Joel Embiid was on a strict minutes restriction. After Brown said Embiid would play somewhere in the 15 to 20-minute range, his final total was 26:57 with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Embiid was surprised he played that much.
"We got to stop calling that `minute restrictions,'" Embiid said. "I think the plan is to just get out there, play, see how I feel. There's going to be some games I'm going to be sore and I'm going to be tired."
GORTAT'S DEDICATION
Gortat, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 17 rebounds, wore "AW" on his shoes to honor late Polish basketball player Alex Wojcik, who died of leukemia at age 47 over the summer.
RED-HOT COVINGTON
Taking advantage of some matchup problems presented by injuries and smaller lineups, Covington shot 7 of 11 from 3 to finish one point off his career high.
"My teammates found me in the open position and I was able to knock them down," Covington said.
UP NEXT
76ers: Host the Boston Celtics on Friday in their home opener.
Wizards: Host the Detroit Pistons on Friday before beginning a four-game Western Conference trip.

Fournier, Magic hold off Heat 116-109 in opener

 Evan Fournier scored 23 points, Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds and the Orlando Magic held off the Miami Heat 116-109 in their season opener Wednesday night.
Fournier stalled the Heat's rally by scoring seven points in the final 2:27, including a driving basket with 30 seconds left. The Heat trailed by 17 early in the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to two with 2:39 to play.
That's when Fournier hit the first of three big shots, a 3-pointer for a 108-103 lead.
Hassan Whiteside keyed the Heat's comeback and finished with 26 points and 22 rebounds. Goran Dragic had 17 points and six assists.
Whiteside sparked the Heat with eight straight points, including a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to nine with 6:08 remaining. Dragic made it 105-103 with two free throws before Fournier's 3.
Terrence Ross scored 15 points and Elfrid Payton had 13 points and nine assists. All five Magic starters had at least 10 points.
Orlando often struggled in the third quarter last season, but the Magic came out of halftime strong in their first game.
After leading 58-55 at the break, Orlando stretched its advantage 15 points early in the third behind key shots from Fournier, Payton and Vucevic.
The Magic were stronger on the boards and on the break in the opening half. The Magic outrebounded Miami 26-20 and had 15 second-chance points compared to six by the Heat. Orlando also had seven fast-break points while the Heat didn't convert any during the first 24 minutes.
Aaron Gordon had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks in the first half. He finished with 14 points.
TIP-INS
Heat: All five of Miami's starters scored in double figures. Kelly Olynyk had 10 points in his first game with the Heat and Dion Waiters had 15. ... Whiteside had 10 rebounds in the first half.
Magic: Rookie Jonathan Isaac, the No. 6 overall pick in June's NBA Draft, converted his first NBA attempt on a put-back late in the first quarter after coming in with 3:10 to play. ... Gordon took a hard hit from Whiteside on a baseline drive late in the second quarter. Gordon remained on the floor momentarily before getting up. The play was reviewed and ruled a common foul.
UP NEXT
Heat: Host Indiana on Saturday.
Magic: Play at Brooklyn on Friday night.

Revamped Pacers rely on new faces to cut down Nets 140-131

Victor Oladipo scored 22 points in his Indiana debut, Darren Collison added 21 points and 11 assists in his return to Indianapolis, and the Pacers held off the Brooklyn Nets 140-131 on Wednesday night in their season opener.
Eight players scored in double figures as the Pacers, in their first game since trading All-Star Paul George, produced their highest point total since a 144-point game against Denver on Nov. 9, 2010. Myles Turner had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 11 rebounds.
D'Angelo Russell scored 30 points in his Nets debut but backcourt mate Jeremy Lin limped to the locker room with an injury midway through the fourth quarter. Trevor Booker finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Nets from losing a franchise-record fifth consecutive season opener.
Despite having chances to take control, neither could.
Brooklyn led 30-29 after one quarter, the Pacers took a 65-63 halftime lead and then used a 10-0 third-quarter run to build a 75-65 lead. Brooklyn never led again.
But the Nets charged back in the final minutes, trimming a 10-point deficit to 130-126 before the Pacers finally managed to close it out.
TIP-INS
Nets: Have lost all six road openers since moving to Brooklyn. ... The Nets are 3-3 all-time against Indiana in season openers, the opponent they have played most frequently on opening night. ... Brooklyn put Timofey Mozgov and Lin in the starting lineup Wednesday, marking the first time in franchise history that more than one undrafted player started a season opener. ... Brooklyn was 29 of 32 from the free-throw line. ... Lin had 18 points, while Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert each finished with 12.
Pacers: Won their fourth straight game against Brooklyn. ... Indiana has won six of its last seven season openers and seven of its last eight home openers. ... Bojan Bogdanovic scored 14 points against his former team. ... Lance Stephenson and Domantas Sabonis each scored 16 points off the bench. ... Oladipo also had four steals. ... It's only the third time since 2000 that Indiana has scored 140 or more points.
UP NEXT
Nets: Host Orlando in home opener on Saturday.
Pacers: Host Portland on Friday.

Harris-led Pistons beat Hornets 102-90 in return downtown

Tobias Harris scored 17 of his 27 points in the first quarter, helping the Detroit Pistons celebrate their return downtown with a 102-90 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
The Pistons and Hornets opened the season in Little Caesars Arena, a new facility that brought them back to the city for the first time in nearly four decades. Eminem made a surprise appearance, grabbing the microphone to fire up the crowd just before tipoff. Kid Rock, another Motor City musical artist, sat in a baseline seat near Detroit's bench.
Dwight Howard had 10 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks in his debut with the Hornets. Charlotte's Kemba Walker scored 24 points, and Jeremy Lamb had 15.
Reserve Langston Galloway scored 16 points, Avery Bradley had 15, and Henry Ellenson added 13 points for Detroit. Reggie Jackson had 13 points and eight assists. The point guard spent the final seconds of the game hugging teammate Andre Drummond at midcourt, soaking up the feel-good moment after a disappointing season.
The Pistons outscored Charlotte 27-18 in the second quarter, building an 11-point lead they didn't have much trouble keeping.
TIP-INS
Hornets: Howard, Lamb, Walker, Marvin Williams and rookie Dwayne Bacon started the game, but coach Steve Clifford said that may not be the team's regular lineup. "I just don't think we have that kind of team," Clifford said. ... Cody Zeller had eight points and nine rebounds.
Pistons: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game in the new arena. Pistons owner Tom Gores said he has talked to Silver about Detroit hosting an All-Star game and believes it will happen. "It's just a matter of when," Gore said. ... Stanley Johnson was 0 for 13 from the field and made two free throws.
UP NEXT
Hornets: Host Atlanta on Friday night in their home opener.
Pistons: Play at Washington on Friday night.

Ultimate Sporting News October 18 2017


Ultimate NBA News October 18 2017


Rockets rally to spoil defending champion Warriors return

Confetti began to fall and the Golden State Warriors thought they had pulled off a wild opening-night win.
The Houston Rockets emphatically signaled otherwise - insisting that Kevin Durant's baseline jumper had swished through the net after the buzzer.
After one official got hurt, two remaining referees reviewed the play and ruled the Rockets had escaped with a 122-121 victory Tuesday on the night the Warriors received their championship rings.
"I thought it had a chance but I knew it was a little late. I knew I was cutting it close," Durant said. "Tough loss. First game of 82, we've definitely got to move on. We've got to get better."
The Warriors got the ball for one final chance with 10.6 seconds left and Durant came up with the ball after Stephen Curry had missed.
"I didn't think it counted," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "When I saw it, it looked to me like it was a little late. Didn't surprise me it was overturned."
Trevor Ariza's 3-pointer with 2:09 remaining pulled Houston within 119-118 then Patrick McCaw hit a baseline jumper immediately after Golden State's timeout. James Harden made a layup and PJ Tucker hit two free throws with 44.1 to make it 122-121.
Nick Young came off the bench to hit six 3-pointers and score 23 points in a brilliant Warriors debut, Curry scored 22 points and Durant had 20 after a slow start. Klay Thompson added 16 points.
Chris Paul had four points on 2-for-9 shooting in his Rockets debut, while Harden scored 27 points, Eric Gordon 24 and Tucker 20 for the Rockets. Houston opened the fourth with a 9-0 run to get back in it.
"It's very encouraging to be able to beat a great team like that on a huge night for them," Anderson said.
The Warriors found their rhythm early but couldn't close it out after an abbreviated preseason in terms of practice time given their recent trip to China for a pair of games against Minnesota.
Draymond Green exited in the second half with a strained left knee after he contributed nine points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.
"When we're lacking conditioning like we are right now you have to have your high-energy guys," Kerr said. "It doesn't matter what it's because of, we just have to get in better shape."
Still, this opener was a far cry for the forgettable 129-100 defeat at home to San Antonio in Durant's Warriors debut a year ago when Golden State came off a record 73-win season and runner-up finish to Cleveland in the 2016 Finals.
"I just remember the last game of the season we played," Durant said of the Game 5 Finals clincher in June.
Young found his stroke right away, hitting his first four 3s and five shots overall. It's exactly what the Warriors want him to do: shoot every time he has a good look. His six 3-pointers set a franchise record for anyone in their Warriors debut and also in a season opener.
Durant had one spectacular sequence in the third when he blocked Anderson's shot on one end then converted a three-point play moments later on the other, slapping hands with a lucky boy fan on the baseline.
Houston acquired Paul from the Clippers to give them a 1-2 backcourt punch to try to gain ground on Golden State in the Western Conference.
"They came out and threw their best punch and it took us a while to adjust," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "The last quarter we held them to 20. We're not going to do much better than that."
RING CEREMONY
Kerr planned to pay extra attention as veterans Durant, Zaza Pachulia and David West each received a championship ring for the first time in their careers.
"Basketball accomplishments to me now are just what they are," Durant said after morning shootaround. "I can kind of separate the two now. I feel like it's more so just cool as hell more than anything. It's like getting a prize possession that you're just really excited about versus getting something that's going to change your life. ... I'll be more so just really giddy and happy more so than emotional. I won't be a mess."
BEAT-UP DUBS
Key backup and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala missed the game with a back strain, while Omri Casspi - who had been questionable with a mild right ankle sprain - appeared in his 500th career game making his debut with the Warriors. He then tweaked the ankle again.
Iguodala is expected to return for the upcoming road trip.
INJURED OFFICIAL
Referee Tre Maddox, accompanied by medical personnel, left midway through the fourth quarter after a collision with David West and hard hit. The NBA said after the game Maddox sustained an abdominal wall strain.
TIP-INS
Rockets: Tucker earned a flagrant 1 foul for his hard hit on Durant in the second. ... D'Antoni joked "We're going to go to the In-N-Out burger" during the pregame festivities, opting to keep his team in the locker room. "They deserve it," he said. "They won it, we didn't." ... The Rockets hit 22 3-pointers in three preseason games and didn't allow more than 106 points, holding opponents to 93.8. ... Houston also opened the season vs. the Warriors in 2009 and `10. ...
Warriors: The Warriors are auctioning signed shooting shirts worn for the pregame festivities to benefit fire relief efforts in the North Bay. ... Thompson has hit a 3 in 55 straight games, second-longest active streak.
UP NEXT
Rockets: At Kings on Wednesday night in Sacramento's season opener.
Warriors: At New Orleans on Friday to start a three-game road trip.