The NBA season officially tipped off on Tuesday night, but Wednesday night marked the first full slate of the year. 28 of the league’s 30 teams were in action on Wednesday, and keeping up with it all was a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot to digest right now, and while it’s still way too early to draw any sweeping conclusions, there was plenty of fun stuff to pick out of these games.
Wizards 88, Magic 87
This game started off super fast and super fun before tailing off into ugliness in the second half and ending with craziness. The positive for the Wizards is that John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to score 46 points on 18-of-37 shooting. The three-point shooting and free throw shooting could’ve been better for the dynamic duo, but not a bad start overall.
Celtics 112, 76ers 95
Two players sure to be in awards races at the end of the year made their mark. Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor started hot and finished with 26 points (eight turnovers not great, though). Meanwhile, Celtics sixth man Isaiah Thomas poured in 27 points and handed out seven assists.
Bulls 115, Nets 100
The Bulls’ new offense was in high gear, as they made 14-of-28 from long range. The Nets? 0-of-9 from three. Something tells me that’s not going to cut it.
Pistons 92, Jazz 87
Andre Drummond posted his second consecutive double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. After two games (two wins), the Pistons have outscored their opponents by 23.1 points per 100 possessions with Drummond on the floor, and they’ve been outscored by 46.7 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench, per NBA.com.
Heat 104, Hornets 94
Chris Bosh had 21 points and 10 rebounds in his return, but how about Justise Winslow?!:
"The dunk was kind of emotional. I haven't jumped that high in awhile." pic.twitter.com/XMjjYcIG8W
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 29, 2015
Winslow put up modest numbers in his debut, but he was also a +26, which was BY FAR a team high. Single-game +/- is often a faulty tool for analysis, but this is still mighty impressive.
Raptors 106, Pacers 99
After a slow start, the Raptors’ big three of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas all went over 20 points and combined for 69 points (nice). Paul George shot terribly (4-of-17), but he got to the line 10 times and had 12 boards, eight assists and three steals.
Nuggets 105, Rockets 85
In one of several wacky results, the Nuggets, expected to be one of the worst teams in the West, pounded a Rockets team (albeit without Dwight Howard) with title aspirations. Danilo Gallinari appears ready to put together a big season, as he notched 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay may have turned it over 11 times, but 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds is pretty darn awesome for a rookie point guard in his first game.
Cavaliers 106, Grizzlies 76
The Cavaliers won a game by 30 points in which LeBron James only had 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting. That’s because Kevin Love played really well (17 and 13) and the Grizzlies were an absolute disaster. Memphis shot 11-of-42 outside the paint, which sounds familiar.
Knicks 122, Bucks 97
So the Knicks’ bench did stuff:
This is a fun, young group that’ll help make the Knicks a competitive squad this year.
Thunder 112, Spurs 106
This game completely lived up to the hype. Kevin Durant back (although he shot poorly). Russell Westbrook with 33 and 10. Enes Kanter double-double. Big shots from Dion Waiters!
But even though the Thunder won, arguably the biggest development was Kawhi Leonard, offensive killer. Leonard matched a career high with 32 points, thoroughly outplaying Durant in the process. If Leonard plays like a legitimate No. 1 scoring option all year, watch out.
Mavericks 111, Suns 95
Many expected the Mavericks to take a step back this season, but for at least one night, that didn’t happen. And in perhaps the night’s biggest upset, Raymond Felton (18 and six) outplayed Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
Trail Blazers 112, Pelicans 94
Another team expected to step back that snagged a big win. The Blazers may not take as big a step back as expected if C.J. McCollum is going to consistently deliver like he did on Wednesday. How does a career-high 37 points (22 in the first quarter) on 14-of-22 shooting sound? Get that Most Improved Player hype train started.
Clippers 111, Kings 104
Blake Griffin had 33 points on 14-of-20 shooting, but look at this:
BE VERY AFRAID, WORLD (also, Anthony Davis went 3-of-5 from three in the Pellies’ loss).
Timberwolves 112, Lakers 111
Yeah, Kobe went 8-of-24 and bricked a ton of terrible shots in the fourth quarter, blah, blah, blah. This game was all about Ricky Rubio:
28 points on 10-of-17 shooting, with an even more impressive 6-of-10 shooting from outside the paint. Rubio’s jumper has been a weak spot his entire career, but it was smooth all night long in Los Angeles. If that sticks, that’s a thing.