Cleveland Cavaliers (1-0) 102; Boston Celtics (0-1) 99
Just over five minutes into the game, Gordon Hayward (2/1/0) suffered a gruesome ankle injury and will be out for the foreseeable future. Kyrie Irving (22/4/10) performed well against his former team after hearing a sea of boos during his introduction in the starting lineup and youngsters Jaylen Brown (25/6/0) and Jayson Tatum (14/10/3) played major minutes, logging 40 and 37 respectively. Marcus Smart (12/9/3) saw additional run after Hayward exited, but struggled shooting the ball, going 5-of-16, starting 0-for-9.
After being a game-time decision, LeBron James (29/16/9) turned in a dominant performance, going 12-of-19 shooting from the field while delivering a number of nifty offensive moves around the basket. In their Cavaliers debuts, Derrick Rose (14/4/2) and Dwyane Wade (8/2/3) turned in forgettable performances in what was a balanced team effort.
Trailing 54-38 at halftime, the Celtics roared back in the third, outscoring the Cavs 33-18 which led to a back-and-forth affair in the fourth quarter. Both teams struggled shooting the deep ball, as Boston went 8-for-32 (25.0 percent) and Cleveland went 5-of-22 (22.7 percent). The Cavs surprisingly had 17 turnovers compared to the Celtics’ 10 and Boston also out-assisted them 24-to-19.
When it mattered most down the stretch, however, the Cavaliers’ experience led them to victory, getting key stops while making the most of their offensive opportunities. However, Boston showed a great deal of heart and resilience to make a game out of it.
Houston Rockets (1-0) 122; Golden State Warriors (0-1) 121
After they scored the first bucket of the game, the Rockets didn’t lead again until the last minute. Led by James Harden (27/6/10) and both P.J. Tucker (20/6/0) and Eric Gordon (24/1/1) off the bench, the Rockets outscored Golden State 34-20 in the fourth quarter to surge for the win in the final minute of play.
Chris Paul (4/8/11) struggled shooting the ball, going just 2-for-9 in his Rockets debut, as he struggled to fit into Houston's up-tempo, long-range offensive scheme.
Steph Curry (22/5/4), Kevin Durant (20/5/7), Klay Thompson (16/6/3) and Draymond Green (9/11/13) performed up to their standards for the home team, but Green was lost late in the third quarter with a strained knee and did not return. Durant made a shot at the buzzer at the end of the game which would have won it, but it was called back because his hand was still on the ball when the final tenth of a second ticked away.
The Warriors had 17 turnovers on the night, including eight from Durant. Nick Young (23/2/0) came off the bench to impressively go 6-of-7 from three-point range in his Warriors debut which was perhaps the most surprising stat line of the night.