What an incredible offseason it has been for the NBA. After months of major headlines and blockbuster deals, the NBA season has officially tipped off. After a relatively predictable first night, that saw the Warriors take down the Thunder, and the Celtics dominate the 76ers, the full slate of games finally began on Wednesday night. Here are a few of the biggest headlines from the NBA’s opening night.
One of the biggest storylines that occurred over the summer was the San Antonio Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan. So naturally, all eyes were on both of these teams, in anticipation of seeing how each player performs with their respective new teams. Neither of them disappointed, and both teams came out with the win.
The Raptors hosted the LeBron James-less Cavaliers, and were able to come out on top 116-104. It was actually Kyle Lowry who led the way for the home team with 27 points, but Leonard was also very good, with 24 points of his own to go along with 12 rebounds on the night. It’s exactly what the Raptors wanted to see out their new star in the team’s first game with their new look roster.
Meanwhile, San Antonio had a much tougher opponent in their season open, hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ultimately, the Spurs were able to get the win, beating Minnesota 112-108, in the first game of the post-Ginobili and Tony Parker era. DeRozan was brilliant for his new team, putting up 28 points in his Spurs debut. He also added four assists and four rebounds for good measure. San Antonio is surely happy with their newest addition, after having to deal with the Leonard saga for far too long.
One of the biggest stunners of the night was actually the Pelicans’ win over the Houston Rockets. Yes, Anthony Davis is a machine on both ends of the floor, and this team could be going places this season. But it was more about the way in which this game went down. New Orleans didn’t just beat the Rockets. They dominated them, with a final score of 131-112. Davis was incredible with 32 points and 16 rebounds. He also found so many other ways to leave his mark on this game, adding eight assists, three steals, and three blocks, in an all-around dominant performance.
The Rockets weren’t nearly as sharp, as Chris Paul and reigning NBA MVP James Harden, put up 19 and 18 points, respectively. It was far from what they are able to do on the court, and they will surely regroup and have much better performances very soon.
Other noteworthy results included the Denver Nuggets getting their first win of the season on the road at the Los Angeles Clipper by a count of 107-98, while the Orlando Magic defeated the Miami Heat 104-101.
While most teams in the league have already played their first game, perhaps the most anticipated team to watch right now, is the Los Angeles Lakers, who now have LeBron James on the roster. The Lakers tip off their season on Thursday night at Portland, on a night with just three games on the schedule. That should be a game every NBA fan tunes in to watch, as the new-look Lakers look to launch the LeBron James era in style.