The NBA season started with three games on opening night, with the Chicago Bulls losing to the Miami Heat as Derrick Rose made his return to the league stealing most of the attention, while the Los Angeles Lakers stunning the Los Angeles Clippers made for a surprising finish to the evening.
The Indiana Pacers also started the season with a win, although not a very impressive one, getting a huge defensive effort from Roy Hibbert against the Orlando Magic, who probably won’t be the worst team in the league two seasons in a row.
Orlando Magic 87 Indiana Pacers 97: A game against the worst team in the NBA last year should have gone a bit easier for the number one challengers in the Eastern Conference, going down in the first half behind by 4. The Magic got a strong performance from Andrew Nicholson, scoring 18 points in the first half (24 overall), but succumbed to a 21-4 run in the fourth quarter. Paul George put in a strong performance with 24 points, but Roy Hibbert with his defense and rebounding was the true hero for them in the game, finishing with 8 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks, as the Packers finished with 18 rejections in the game.
Chicago Bulls 95 Miami Heat 107: For about a quarter, the Chicago Bulls managed to hide their offensive problems they need to grow out of with fantastic defense. However, the Miami Heat soon found a way to spread the floor and start hitting three point shots (11-of-20), mostly through Shane Battier and Ray Allen as LeBron James led the scoring, finishing with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. The Bulls did get a big night from Carlos Boozer (31 points) but were trailing in double digits for most of the game, as Derrick Rose had a disappointing comeback game, finishing with 12 points, 5 turnovers and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles Clippers 103 Los Angeles Lakers 116: The surprising result of the NBA’s opening night, as the Lakers got 76 points from their bench and went on a 41-24 run in the final quarter to stun the slightly complacent Clippers. Xavier Henry had a huge game for the Lakers coming off the bench, scoring 22 points, leading 7 players in double figures, including five coming off the bench. The Clippers did get a big game from Chris Paul with 15 points, 11 assists and 5 steals, but are at their best only when their bench does a lot better than it did on opening night.
|LA Lakers||1||0||1.000||–||1-0||0-0||1-0||1-0||116.0||103.0||+13.0||Won 1||1-0|
|LA Clippers||0||1||.000||1||0-0||0-1||0-1||0-1||103.0||116.0||-13.0||Lost 1||0-1|