PHI 87 (0-1) @ BOS 105 (1-0)
On Opening Night, Boston looked pretty impressive - 105-87 victory over Philly.
As expected, BOS’s depth is already a key advantage - though Jayson Tatum led the C’s in scoring (23!), key role players like Terry Rozier (11 & 8! boards off bench), Marcus Smart (7, 3 & 3 dimes) & Marcus Morris (DD - 16 & 10 boards! off bench) did due diligence in their familiar, complementary roles.
Al Horford (5! blocks) stood on all ten on the inside, significantly altering Philly’s looks in the paint all night long. Holding the (high-powered) Sixers to just 87 pts is a nice, early notch under Coach Brad Stevens’s belt to kick off the season - especially w/ Kyrie Irving still working his way back in rhythm (7 pts, 2/14! shooting).
On the Philly side, Joel Embiid (23 & 10 boards) & Ben Simmons (DD - 19, 15! boards, 8 dimes & 4! steals) played well to kick off the year. Simmons, in particular, had a few head-turning dimes & looked a bit more comfortable attacking w/ a wider range of shots - fades, turnaround hooks, etc.
Coach Brett Brown’s rotation is a situation worth monitoring.
OKC 100 (0-1) @ GSW 108 (1-0)
Ring night (#3) was a success for Steve Kerr’s Dubs.
Another banner went up in Oracle and the team responded w/ another W.
Stephen Curry was up to his usual tricks from deep (5 triples), got into an early groove (19 1H pts) to help power Golden State.
Kevin Durant dropped 27, highlighted by an entertaining, back & forth duel with Paul George in the 3rd quarter. Without Russell Westbrook, PG (& Dennis Schröder: 21 pts) stepped up & helped keep it close down the stretch.
But as the story goes (and has gone for a few years now), Golden State had more weapons. Damian Jones! (career-high 12 pts) & Kevon Looney (DD - 10 & 10! boards off bench) were effective all night long, helped influenced the outcome late.
Jones & Looney are counted on heavily this season. If they can quickly develop chemistry & consistency w/ the All-Stars, it’s a bad sign for the rest of the league.