Harden explodes for 37 in Rockets’ debut
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a stirring debut for Houston, and Carlos Delfino made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Rockets to a 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
Detroit led 83-72 early in the fourth, but Harden and Delfino brought the Rockets back. Houston acquired Harden on Saturday night in a trade with Oklahoma City and agreed Wednesday on a five-year, $80 million contract extension with him.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year certainly looked worth it in the season opener. Harden fell just short of his career high of 40 points, and his 12 assists were a career best.
Brandon Knight led Detroit with 15 points.
TRAIL BLAZERS 116, LAKERS 106
PORTLAND, Ore. — Dwight Howard’s 33 points and 14 rebounds were not enough for the Lakers in a loss to the inspired Trail Blazers.
Nicolas Batum had 26 points, and the Blazers led by as many as 19 in handing the Lakers their second straight loss to open the season. Damian Lillard, the sixth overall pick in the June draft, had 22 points and 11 assists in his NBA debut for Portland.
The Lakers’ troubles were compounded by the loss of guard Steve Nash to what appeared to be a left knee injury late in the first half.
Nash, acquired by the Lakers this summer, collided with Lillard and limped to the locker room.
CLIPPERS 101, GRIZZLIES 92
LOS ANGELES — Jamal Crawford scored 29 points in 30 minutes in his first official game with his new team, and the Los Angeles Clippers converted 21 turnovers into 29 points in a victory that extended the Grizzlies’ NBA-record streak of opening-night losses to 12.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, who had 12 assists, were among six Clippers to score in double figures. The Clippers are 20-23 in season openers, 12-17 since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984. The Grizzlies are 2-16 on opening night, 0-12 since the franchise shifted from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001.
The Grizzlies got 25 points from Rudy Gay and 20 from Marc Gasol. Zach Randolph, who missed more than two 2 1/2 months last season after tearing the MCL in his right knee and undergoing surgery, had 15 points and 16 rebounds.
PACERS 90, RAPTORS 88
TORONTO — George Hill scored the go-ahead basket with two seconds left, completing the Pacers’ rally in a season-opening win over the Raptors.
David West scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Paul George had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers, who trailed 84-74 with just under six minutes left. Roy Hibbert added 14 points for Indiana.
Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 21 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his NBA debut. Andrea Bargnani had 16 points, and Jose Calderon added 15 for the Raptors.
SPURS 99, HORNETS 95
NEW ORLEANS — Tim Duncan scored 24 points, Tony Parker hit a huge 3-pointer, and the Spurs opened the season with a victory over the Hornets in the debut for top draft pick Anthony Davis.
Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, a promising start for the player who spent only one year at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to the national title.
But the wily Spurs showed the rebuilding Hornets a thing or two.
After Davis made two free throws with 1:08 remaining to give New Orleans its final lead at 95-94, the Spurs closed strong. Parker connected from beyond the arc with 49.6 seconds left, finishing with 23 points. After Greivis Vasquez missed an open 3, Duncan padded the lead with two fouls shots.
BULLS 93, KINGS 87
CHICAGO — Joakim Noah scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Bulls got off to a good start without Derrick Rose, beating the Kings in the season opener.
Richard Hamilton added 19 points, while Carlos Boozer chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Bulls are out to show they can get by while their superstar recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and this was promising even if it was a struggle.
Chicago led by 14 after a 10-0 run in the third quarter and hung on in the fourth after the Kings closed within three several times.
76ERS 84, NUGGETS 75
PHILADELPHIA — Spencer Hawes had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the 76ers to a win over the Nuggets.
Hawes had a crowd of nearly 20,000 fans chanting “Spen-cer Hawes!” in the fourth quarter after he turned back the Nuggets with a string of big baskets and blocked shots. Coming off the bench, Hawes had five blocked shots. Jrue Holiday had 14 and 11 assists, and Dorell Wright scored 14 points.
The Sixers won the opener with center Andrew Bynum out with a bone bruise on his right knee.
Ty Lawson led Denver with 16 points in his first game since signing an $18 million, four-year extension. Andre Iguodala scored 11 points in his first game since the Sixers traded him to Denver in the four-team deal that netted them Bynum.
JAZZ 113, MAVERICKS 94
SALT LAKE CITY — Mo Williams and Marvin Williams each scored 21 points to lead the Jazz to a victory over the Mavericks.
Paul Millsap added 15 rebounds and 13 points. Al Jefferson also had a double-double with 14 rebounds and 12 points.
The score was tied at 70 before Mo Williams hit back-to-back 3-pointers then scored on a driving layup. Marvin Williams followed with his second 3-pointer, putting Utah up 11 points with 2:57 left in the third. The Jazz led by as many as 20.
Darren Collison scored 17 points for the Mavs, who pulled off an upset win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday but couldn’t match Utah’s pace in the second half.
The Jazz held a 44-30 advantage on points in the paint and 61-40 edge in rebounds as Dallas continued to play without 11-time All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki and 7-0 center Chris Kaman.
WARRIORS 87, SUNS 85
PHOENIX — Carl Landry scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors overcame an awful post-contract night by Stephen Curry to beat the Suns in the teams’ season opener.
Curry, who earlier in the day agreed to a four-year, $44 million extension with the Warriors, missed his first 10 shots from the field and wound up 2 of 14 with five points. He missed two free throws with 4.4 seconds left to allow the Suns a chance at a game-winning shot, but Sebastian Telfair’s 3-point attempt came after the buzzer, and misfired anyway.
Goran Dragic had 17 points and Luis Scola added 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Suns’ first game in the post-Steve Nash era.