Portland 98, LA Clippers 88: Explosive Blake Griffin had a debut to remember – 20 points, 14 rebounds (nine offensive) in 38 minutes. The Paper Clips caved late and lost, but Griffin left the arena buzzing with his leaping ability and how he handled the ball in the open floor. Griffin’s springy 2nd jump might be the quickest of any power forward in the league.Portland showing up in the 4th was impressive, considering they had played the night before at home. Batum (15 points) is off to a good start – he’s 6-of-12 from three in the first two games.
Miami 97, Philadelphia 87: The Heat pulled away in the second half for an easy victory – mostly thanks to a 3-point shooting binge by James Jones (6-of-9). D Wade had 30 in his new role as wingman (gotta love the undertones to Woj’s first two columns on the Heat). LeBron turned the ball over nine times in his new “point guard” role (that’s 17 in two games) – he only made five baskets. The 76ers have a bunch of nice pieces at the 1-2-3 (rookie Evan Turner had showed flashes of potential with 16 points and seven assists), but it still has serious problems at the 4/5.
Oklahoma City 106, Chicago 95: Derrick Rose was other-worldly – 28 points, though it took 31 shots – but he got very little help inside, and the Thunder pulled away late behind the athletic pair of Durant (30 points) and Westbrook (28 points). A 38-13 free throws made advantage certainly helped. Note: We can’t stress enough how exciting the Thunder are to watch. They’ve created quite the college atmosphere in that arena.
Cleveland 95, Boston 87: LeBron who? The Cavaliers played aggressively and fearlessly throughout – especially in the 4th quarter when they outscored the Celtics 27-14 – and the young Cavs gave heartbroken Cleveland plenty to cheer about. The creaky Celtics will struggle on the 2nd night of back-to-backs all season. Allen and Pierce shot a combined 9-for-25. For Cleveland, it looks like JJ Hickson will be their new guy – he had 21 points. Cavaliers fans were, to put it mildly, thrilled that Boston beat Miami Tuesday. Take it away, Fred McLeod of Fox Sports Ohio:
New York 98, Toronto 93: It took the Knicks 3 1/2 quarters to figure out they had a mismatch inside with Amare Stoudemire, and they rode the Knicks’ new PF to victory. Shot selection by New York was maddening, though – why attempt 24 three-pointers (they only made seven) when Amare was being guarded by ball-grabber Reggie Evans? Wilson Chandler scored 22 points on 18 shots. We’ll become more comfortable with this team when it regularly shoots more free throws than 3′s.
Nets 101, Pistons 98: Seven Pistons scored in double figures, and that would have been enough for victory if not for anemic 53 percent free throw shooting and a pathetic, late, collapse. Nets fans celebrated the nice, late comeback – Detroit led 95-88 with about 100 seconds left – by picking their nose.
Dallas 101, Charlotte 86: Dirk has made 78 free throws in a row (6-for-6 last night). The record is 97. Jason Kidd handed out 18 assists.
San Antonio 122, Indiana 109: Roy Hibbert had 26 points and took nine rebounds for the Pacers. Guess when they nuke this team at the All-Star break, you might as well keep him.
Golden State 132, Houston 128: The Rockets played defense under Jeff Van Gundy a few years back, but that’s not the case anymore. A night after giving up 112 to the Lakers, they let Monta Ellis explode for 46 points as the Warriors shot 55 percent from the field. Yes, it’s just one game, but Denver fans, you sure you don’t want Monta Ellis and spare parts for Melo? The announcers were raving last night about how Ellis has “grown up” and he’s becoming a leader and all that fluffy stuff that announcers hype in October when the team is hopeful. Yao didn’t play (yet he and Jeremy Lin warranted heavy media attention), but underrated Luis Scola scored 36 points and collected 16 rebounds.