By Adolfo Lopez
(Game of the night)
Minnesota Timberwolves beat Brooklyn Nets in OT 127-126
– Kyrie Irving made his much anticipated debut for Brooklyn and his singular performance did not disappoint at all. Irving went on to cook the Timberwolves in an overtime thriller that almost saw his final circus shot land for the win in overtime. Irving finished the game with 50pts/7asts/8rbs.
-The Timberwolves got it going through their star. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way for his squad, finishing with 36pts/3ast/14rbs. Andrew Wiggins chipped in 21pts/8rbs and Robert Covington added 15pts/9rbs.
-Brooklyns depth could be a story worth watching, but more so the Timberwolves just outplayed them. Caris LeVert aided Kyrie with 20pts of his own and Taurean Prince added a 15pt/11rb double-double.
Miami Heat beat Memphis Grizzlies 120-101
-Looking at each teams roster, you wouldn’t think that this would be an early test for the Heat, but the Heat were without star free agent Jimmy Butler (personal reasons), and found themselves testing their depth early. They answered the call. Justice Winslow (a personal favorite of mine) led the charge, finishing with 27pts/7asts/7rbs. Winslow just continues to improve after being questioned so much in his early years. If he continues this trajectory the extension he signed to stay with the Heat will be an absolute bargain. Semi-Rookie Kendrick Nunn continues to impress as well. He notched 24pts in the start. Goran Dragic chipped in 19pts off the bench. This Heat team has enough depth to be a force in the East, and will only look better with the imminent return of Jimmy Butler.
-For the Grizzlies, rookie Ja Morant got off to a dizzying start in this game, scoring the first six points of the game. He finished the game with 14pts/4asts/4rbs. Jaren jackson Jr added 17pts/3rbs
San Antonio Spurs beat New York Knicks 120-111
-The Knicks were without their starting center, and best defender, Mitchell Robinson. However, the Knicks played a remarkable defensive game until late in the fourth when they allowed an 18-0 run. A lot of this, you could tell, is because they simply got tired and their shots stopped falling. The fact is, the Spurs have been together for a lot longer than this new Knicks team and out executed in the minutes that counted. But, if this is a sign of things to come for the Knicks, they certainly won’t be going down easy to any team this season.
-LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the Spurs, finishing with 22pts8rbs. Bryn Forbes added 20pts/5rbs and Dejounta Murray made his return to the regular season, finishing with 18pts/6sts/8rbs/3stls.
-For the Knicks, Marcus Morris led the way, against the team he spurned in free agency, finishing with 26pts. Julius Randle added 25pts/6asts/11rbs/3stls and rookie RJ Barrett had a dazzling performance in his NBA debut, finishing with 21pts/5rbs/2asts/2stls. When was the last time the Knicks had three players with 20+ points in a game?
Charlotte Hornets beat Chicago Bulls 126-125
-PJ Washington put his stamp on the rookie conversation. He led the Hornets to victory, finishing with 27pts/4rbs. Devonte Graham came off the bench (and made an argument for starting over Rozier, to no ones surprise) by chopping the Bulls to the tune of 23pts/8asts/4rbs, smacking sic threes. The Hornets prized free agent and Kemba replacement looked like crap, he had 7pts/6asts/4rbs on 20% shooting.
-For the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen led the way with 35pts/17rbs. Thaddeus Young and Coby White both chipped in 17pts off the bench (White with seven assists, too.) and Zach LaVine added 16pts/7asts/6rbs in the loss.
Detroit Pistons beat Indiana Pacers 119-110
-Well, the Pistons looked pretty damn good last night, even without Blake Griffin. Andre Drummond was an absolute force, leading the way with 32pts/23rbs. Luke Kennard torched off the bench to the tune of 30pts (with six threes, including three in the final few minutes) and everyone’s favorite redemption story, Derrick Rose, added 18pts/9asts off the bench. While Rose is a nice spark off the bench, I expect him to wind up starting for this Pistons team before the new year.
-The Pacers got a hell of a lot of production out of their starters, but the bench was pretty much quiet, with only three players scoring any points off the bench. This team will get better once Oladipo finally returns. Domantas Sabonis led the way with 27pts/13rbs, Myles Turner added 25pts/9rbs and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 22pts/11asts/3rbs.
Orlando Magic beat Cleveland Cavaliers 94-85
-I was expecting a blowout in this one, but the Cavs came out the gate scrappier than expected. Neither team could really get it going from deep, but the Magic were the team to gut out the victory. Vucevic led the way, hoping to build off his All-Star season last year. He finished with 21pts/3asts/9rbs. Markelle Fultz was the first man off the bench and did not disappoint for his team, he finished with 12pts/6asts and received a ton of praise from coach Steve Clifford following the game.
-For the Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson led the way (lol), with a 16pt/11rb double-double. Kevin Love added an 11pt/18rb double-double of his own and Collin Sexton finished with 16pts.
Philadelphia Sixers beat Boston Celtics 107-93
-Josh Richardson was tasked with defending the Celtics star free agent, Kemba Walkerm and basically locked Kemba in a prison and threw away the key. He held the dynamic scoring guard to 12pts on 4-18 shooting. Ben Simmons led the way for the Sixers, finishing with 24pts/9asts/8rbs. Josh Richardson added 17pts/6rbs and Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris both notched double-doubles (15pts/13rbs and 15pts/15rbs respectively).
-For the Celtics, Gordon Hayward led the way with 25pts/5rbs and Jayson Tatum added a 21pt/10rb double-double.
Dallas Mavericks beat Washington Wizards 108-100
-Luka Doncic is so damn good. The second year player put on a dazzling performance, finishing with 34pts/3asts/9rbs. Kristaps Porzingis was uneven in his Mavericks debut, but got the job done. He finished with 23pts/4rbs.
-For the Wizards, Bradley Beal led the way, finishing with 19pts/9asts/6rbs. Rookie Rui Hachimura added a 14pt/10rb double-double and Thomas Bryant added a 14pt/11rb double-double.
Utah Jazz outlast OKC Thunder 100-95
-Donovan Mitchell put the team on his back and showed he’s still the Jazz best player, regardless of new point guard Mike Conley. Mitchell led the way with a 32pt/12rb double-double. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16pts and Royce O’Neale finished with 14pts/5rbs. Donovan Mitchell was really the difference maker in this game, clearly. After the Thunder built a comfortable lead in the fourth, Mitchell took it upon himself to takeover on both ends of the court, and the rest is history.
-For the Thunder, SGA led the way with 26pts. Chris Paul added 22pts/3asts/8rbs and Danilo Gallinari finished with 21pts/7rbs.
Denver Nuggets beat Portland Trailblazers 108-100
-Nikola Jokic picked up where he left off last season, with a dazzling performance. He finished with a 20pt/13rb double-double. Will Barton added 19pts/5rbs and Jamal Murray finished with 14pts/6asts/5rbs.
-For the Blazers, Dame Time Lillard led the charge with 32pts/8asts/4rbs. Hassan Whiteside was a monster in his first game as a Blazer, finishing with a 16pt/19rb double-double. It’ll be interesting to watch how engaged Whiteside stays once Jusef Nurkic is on the return. If he is engaged though, he will help this Blazers team win a whole lot of games.
Phoenix Suns beat Sacramento Kings 124-95
-Devin Booker led the way for the Suns, finishing with 22pts/10asts. Kelly Oubre Jr chipped in 21pts/9rbs and new point guard Ricky Rubio had a decent debut with 11pts/11asts/6rbs. Deandre Ayton added an 18pt/11rb double-double.
-The Kings got production out of a few players, but overall the team just looked a little off and couldn’t find production out of a few key guys (namely De’Aaron Fox). Buddy Hield led the way with 28pts/5rbs and Marvin Bagley III added a 14pt/10rb double-double.
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