Oklahoma City 104, Minnesota 100: Ricky Rubio’s debut was outstanding. As the 3rd point guard off the bench – I expect that to change by mid-January – his numbers were modest (6 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds in 26 minutes), but he was easily the story of the game. If Michael Beasley wasn’t such a black hole on offense (a ridiculous 27 shot attempts; Kevin Love attempted just 14), maybe the Wolves get the win. Nevertheless, they’ll be exciting to watch this year when Rubio is on the floor. He was at his best paired with JJ Barea. It was just one game, but Rubio wasn’t a liability defensively. LeBron was impressed. As for the Thunder, KD scored 33, including this gorgeous spin-cycle and Iceman layup.
Denver 115, Dallas 93: That’s in Dallas, folks. The Mavericks have now been blown out by the Heat and Nuggets to start the season. Dirk didn’t pull any punches: “We look old.”
Chicago 91, Golden State 99: Stephen Curry labored in the opener (2-for-12 shooting) and somebody wondered why he even played. The ankle’s fine, folks: 21 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 steals in 37 minutes. Plus, he tossed this beautiful alley-oop to Dorrell Wright:
New Jersey 90, Washington 84: A downright embarrassing season opener for the Wizards, who led in the first half by 21 points. Making matters even worse, Kris Humphries, who was lustily booed anytime he touched the ball, scored 21 points and collected 16 rebounds. Not the best start for John Wall: 3-for-13 shooting, 7-of-13 FTs. Even without Brook Lopez, the Nets outrebounded the Wizards 58-38 (18-9 on the offensive end). Peep this slick alley-oop from Deron Williams to Humphries:
Milwaukee 95, Charlotte 96: The tiny backcourt of DJ Augustin (19 points, 8 assists) and Kemba Walker (13 points, game-winning free throws) sparked a rally as the Hornets overcame a 14-point deficit to win. Tubby Boris Diaw had 9 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists. Brandon Jennings scored 22 points on 21 shots for the losers, who melted down in the third quarter. I bet you’re shocked to hear Captain Jack was in the middle of it.
LA Lakers 91, Sacramento 100: Kobe showed up (29 points on 24 shots), but the Lakers were a pathetic 1-of-16 from deep. Andrew Bynum can’t get here soon enough, but he’s not going to dramatically help that 3-point shooting issue. The Lakers return home to play the Jazz tonight (Utah hasn’t played this season) and are 4-point favorites. The Lakers haven’t started 0-3 since 1978. Jimmer scored six in his debut (all in the first half), and the Kings looked surprisingly decent. Lots of scorers, and while the Lakers’ have a drop-off when they go to the bench, the Kings have some potentially-explosive players. Marcus Thornton scored 27 points and Tyreke Evans added 20.
Memphis 82, San Antonio 95: Wasn’t close, but I wanted to show you this highlight and provide some commentary. In a pick-up game back in college, I made a pilfer exactly like this with about 25 people watching … and then went in and blew the layup (but was fouled). It hurt to have not finished the play, but I’d say it was probably one of my top five career pick-up hoops highlights.
Toronto 104, Cleveland 96: Three people you care about – Ed Davis finished last season strong for the Raptors, and had 14-7 in just 17 minutes. Cavs’ rookie Kyrie Irving had a rough debut shooting (2-for-12), but had seven assists and just one turnover. Their other lottery pick, Tristan Thompson, went for 13-5 in 17 minutes.
Philadelphia 103, Portland 107: Gerald Wallace had a nice game (21 points), and I commend whoever built this highlight package.