Atlanta 120, Indiana 109
Studs: Every Hawks' starter reached double figures against Indiana, led by 25 from Joe Johnson and 24 points and 16 rebounds from Al Horford. Mo Evans also added a dozen points off the bench. Danny Granger poured in 31 for the Pacers and Troy Murphy flirted with a triple-double before a mediocre fourth quarter that saw him end at 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Reserves Earl Watson and Dahntay Jones were effective as well, scoring 20 and 17, respectively.
Duds: T.J. Ford shot just 1-for-9 from the field and Indiana collected just 1 steal as a team and forced only 10 turnovers. They also committed 25 turnovers, including 6 in just 26 minutes by Dahntay Jones.
Game Notes: Indiana shot 53.4% from the floor, 55.6% from the 3-point line, and 84% from the charity stripe, but gave up 35 points off of turnovers and 54 points in the paint in the loss... The game was much closer than the score would indicate, as Atlanta turned a 1 point lead at the beginning of the fourth into an 11 point win.
Orlando 120, Philadelphia 106
Studs: Orlando looked fantastic in their dismantling of the 76ers. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 21 points and 15 rebounds and Ryan Anderson added 16 points, including 4 made 3-pointers. Jason Williams played spectacularly in his return to the NBA. Williams posted 15 points and 5 assists on 4-for-5 shooting, including 3 3-pointers. Marresse Speights played well for Philadelphia, scoring 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting, although much of that came in garbage time.
Duds: The 76ers go-to-guys, Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, both struggled, tallying just 8 points apiece on a combined 5-for-18 field goal shooting.
Game Notes: Orlando led 70-47 at halftime and 100-69 at the end of the third quarter before sending in their B-squad... The Magic shot 55.6% from the floor and made 16-of-29 3-point attempts (55.2%), even without their main gunner Rashard Lewis. They also made 14-of-17 free throw attempts including a typical 3-for-6 effort from Howard.
Toronto 101, Cleveland 91
Studs: Andrea Bargnani had 28 points and Chris Bosh posted 21 points and 16 rebounds as the Raptors won their season opener. LeBron James registered the season's first triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in a losing effort.
Duds: There are a lot of options here for the Cavaliers. Anthony Parker shot just 4-of-12, Mo Williams was 4-of-14, but the worst was Anderson Varejao, who posted an 0-for-5 effort, with 5 fouls in just 25 minutes.
Game Notes: Cleveland is in the process of digging themselves quite a hole. They're now 0-2 and 2 full games behind Boston... After missing just 3 free throws all of last year, Jose Calderon missed his first two free throw attempts of the '09-'10 season... Hedo Turkoglu scored 12 points on 3-for-7 shooting and added 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in his Raptors debut... Shaquille O'Neal posted 12 points and 7 rebounds on 6-for-12 shooting in 25 minutes in his second game for Cleveland. He is now 0-for-5 from the free throw line as a Cavalier.
Boston 92, Charlotte 59
Studs: Ray Allen led the Celtics with 18 points and Rajon Rondo posted 10 points and 11 rebounds, as Boston got back-to-back wins to start the season. None of the Bobcats deserve a mention here.
Duds: All of the Bobcats deserve a mention here. The team flirted with the shot-clock-era record for futility (57 points) and barely surpassed it. Charlotte had 31 points at halftime and only 41 points through three quarters. The 'Cats shot just 31.1% from the field and an abysmal 52% from the free throw line, failing to make a single 3-pointer in the game. They also committed 18 turnovers and managed only 8 fast break points.
Game Notes: It's hard to say if this result is due more to Boston's talent or Charlotte's ineptitude, but one thing is clear- Boston is a very good basketball team. They're 2-0 after a road win against a team that won 66 games a year ago and a near-historic win over a hapless Bobcats' squad... After playing his starters for big minutes against Cleveland, Doc Rivers was able to give his veterans some rest Wednesday night. Kevin Garnett played just 26 minutes, while Paul Pierce saw just 25 minutes.
Miami 115, New York 93
Studs: Miami had their own version of "The Big 3" against New York, as Dwayne Wade (26 points), Jermaine O'Neal (22 points, 12 rebounds), and Michael Beasley (21 points) looked mighty formidable. New York got 22 points apiece from big man David Lee and second-year small forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari, who played sparingly last season due to injury problems, made an NBA season-high 7 3-pointers off the Knicks' bench.
Duds: Chris Duhon was just 1-for-7 and Nate Robinson was 0-for-8, as the Knicks shot just 37.9% from the field in the loss.
Game Notes: Miami shot 56.6% from the field, behind a 10-for-12 showing from a rejuvenated O'Neal.
Minnesota 95, New Jersey 93
Studs: Rookie Jonny Flynn started and led Minnesota with 18 points in his first NBA game. Flynn also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Damien Wilkins notched a double-double in his first game with the Timberwolves, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Brook Lopez looked like a legitimate NBA star with his effort against Minnesota. Lopez posted 27 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 blocks for New Jersey, who also got 17 points and 12 rebounds from Yi Jianlian and 15 points from rookie Terrence Williams.
Duds: Courtney Lee shot just 2-for-11 in his first game as a Net, posting just 5 points in 38 minutes. Minnesota had a rough game all over offensively- Al Jefferson shot 2-for-9, Ryan Gomes and Sasha Pavlovic were each 3-for-11, and Corey Brewer was just 3-for-14.
Game Notes: This was without question the best of the early games, as Minnesota came from 19 points behind to win on a Wilkins put-back at the buzzer... The teams combined to make just 1-of-15 3-point attempts. (Minnesota had the make, in a 1-for-7 effort.)... Minnesota shot just 36.6% as a team, but posted a +12 turnover margin.
San Antonio 113, New Orleans 96
Studs: Tony Parker had 17 points and a healthy Manu Ginobili added 16, as the Spurs got the season off on the right foot. Rookie DeJuan Blair was also impressive, notching a double-double in his first NBA game, with 14 points and 11 rebounds in a productive 23 minutes. Chris Paul posted 26 points and 9 assists for the Hornets, while Emeka Okafor and David West added 18 points apiece.
Duds: Richard Jefferson was just 1-for-7 shooting in his first game with San Antonio, totaling 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in 24 minutes. The Hornets bench shot just 7-for-21 and contributed only 19 points, all of which came in the second half.
Game Notes: Both teams shot above 50% from the field, but struggled from the free throw line. San Antonio was an even 70% from the charity stripe, while New Orleans only managed 59.1%... Blair's 11 rebounds included 5 on the offensive end, matching the total posted by the entire Hornets' team... New Orleans was only able to convert San Antonio turnovers into 3 points at the other end.
Oklahoma City 102, Sacramento 89
Studs: The Thunder had three players surpass the 20-point plateau- Kevin Durant, with 25 points and 11 rebounds; Jeff Green, with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks; and a rejuvenated Nenad Krstic, with 20 points and 7 boards. Russell Westbrook also had a strong showing, with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 13 assists. Kevin Martin had 27 points for the Kings, who also got 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench from rookie Omri Casspi.
Duds: Martin scored, but did so very inefficiently. He was just 5-for-19 from the field, as the Kings shot just 40.5% as a team. Desmond Mason followed his unproductive preseason with an equally underwhelming first regular season effort. He shot 1-for-4, with 2 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes. (I stand behind my claim that he is the worst opening night starter in the NBA.)
Game Notes: Oklahoma City shot above 50% from the field and the 3-point line and showed the explosive offense that many had expected. If they continue to get production from Krstic, they could be a force in the West, but depth is a major issue. The Thunder used just 9 players and used their subs for only 60 total minutes (or 1 quarter of the game)... This game featured only 13 fast break points, only two of which were scored by Sacramento.
Detroit 96, Memphis 74
Studs: Richard Hamilton started slowly, but finished well, on his way to a game-high 25 points, and super-sub Ben Gordon added 22, as the Pistons handled Memphis on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies got 21 points and 15 rebounds from Marc Gasol.
Duds: How can I talk duds without mentioning Hasheem Thabeet? Thabeet missed two field goals and 2 free throws, committed 2 fouls, and gathered 2 rebounds in his first 12 minutes of NBA action. The rest of the Memphis' bench wasn't much better, as the group combined to shoot 4-for-22, with only 15 points in 77 minutes.
Game Notes: I picked Memphis to be one of my surprise teams this season (I picked them an optimistic 11th in the West), and I'm already regretting it. They shot just 36.1% from the field, 16.7% from the 3-point line, 64.5% from the charity stripe, forced only 9 turnovers, which turned into just 6 points, and scored only 7 transition points, despite an athletic lineup full of young players with fresh legs... The Pistons' big man rotation of Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace, Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox, and Jason Maxiell combined for just 18 points and just 1-for-10 free throw shooting. This team's strengths offensively lie on the perimeter, and as the adage states, "You live by the jump shot, you die by the jump shot". Stay tuned.
Denver 114, Utah 105
Studs: Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 30 points, and added 8 rebounds and 5 assists to lead Denver past the Jazz. Chauncey Billups overcame a slow start to post 25 points and his backup, rookie Ty Lawson, dazzled with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 26 minutes in his first NBA game. Deron Williams (28 points and 13 assists) and Carlos Boozer (12 points and 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles for Utah.
Duds: Boozer showed rust after an injury-plagued '08-'09 campaign, shooting just 3-for-14 from the field. With J.R. Smith suspended, Anthony Carter got the start at the off-guard for Denver and managed only 1-for-6 from the floor.
Game Notes: Denver boasted five players (Anthony, Billups, Lawson, Nene, and Kenyon Martin) with at least 7 made field goals, while Utah had just one (Williams)... Utah managed only 8 points off of 13 Denver turnovers... The Nuggets posted 54 points in the paint.
Houston 108, Golden State 107
Studs: Houston evened their record at 1-1 thanks to 25 points from Trevor Ariza, 21 points and 11 rebounds from Luis Scola, and 18 points and 12 assists from Aaron Brooks. Monta Ellis had a game-high 26 points for Golden State, who also got 14 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals from rookie Stephen Curry, who started and looked very comfortable in his first NBA game.
Duds: Corey Maggette was just 3-for-14 shooting off the Warriors' bench. Ariza, Brooks, and Scola combined to account for 53 of the Rockets' 86 field goal attempts, and Ariza and Brooks combined for 11 of the team's 18 turnovers. Kyle Lowry followed a strong opening game with a 1-for-5 showing against the Warriors, with 4 fouls in just 17 minutes.
Game Notes: Anthony Morrow missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds, as Houston held off a late surge from Golden State, who trailed by 6 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter... Despite fielding the league's smallest lineup (several times the Warriors had Ellis at the off-guard and Maggette at the power forward), Golden State managed 58 points in the paint, which is the highest total in the NBA so far this season.
Phoenix 109, LA Clippers 107
Studs: Steve Nash scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including seven in a row to erase a 104-97 deficit. He also added 8 assists for the Suns, who also got a great performance from Grant Hill, who posted 19 points and 13 rebounds for an under-sized Phoenix team. Marcus Camby filled up the stat sheet for the Clippers, with a team-high 23 points, to go along with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. L.A. also got strong showings from Chirs Kaman (22 points and 9 rebounds) and Rasual Butler (19 points off the bench).
Duds: Amare Stoudemire scored 16 points, but only gathered 5 rebounds in 40 minutes, and rookie Earl Clark posted 6 points and 5 rebounds, but shot just 3-for-9 in his 20 minutes.
Game Notes: Phoenix was outscored by 18 points in the paint (44-26) and managed just 2 fast break points... In a sign that change may be on the horizon for the Clippers, Butler logged 32 minutes, compared to just 25 for starter Al Thornton... Baron Davis had his second straight poor shooting night (4-for-11), but again was active, posting 12 points, 12 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.