The NBA Roundup: October 31, 2013

It was a day of upsets as the Philadelphia 76ers, after formally going through Allen Iverson’s retirement from pro ball, ran past the Miami Heat, while the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers welcomed Mike Brown back with a win over projected East contender Brooklyn.

The Best:
  •  Lost amid the din of Philly’s upset over Miami was the career-high-tying rebound performance of Dwight Howard. Looks like the big fella has settled in quite nicely into the scheme of things in Houston, hauling down 26 boards on top of 17 points and 2 blocks as the Rockets beat the Bobcats, 96-83.
  • The biggest story of the day, however, was 11th pick Michael Carter-Williams, who dropped 22 points on the strength of 4 triples to lead the Sixers’ unexpected conquest of the defending champs, 114-110. MCW actually had a near-triple-double (near-quadruple-double if you stretch it) with 12 assists, NINE steals, and 7 rebounds. The only thing he didn’t do was dunk on LeBron, but that was fine because teammate Evan Turner did it anyway.
  • Another huger performer was ½ of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson, who hit 5 treys on his way to 38 points. Thompson shot 15/19 overall from the field as the Warriors brought the Lakers back to earth, 125-94.
Now he has everyone's attention. 11th pick Michael Carter-Williams
dropped a huge game as Philly stunned the Miami Heat.
(image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The Worst:
  • Shout out to Brooklyn’s Andrey Blatche, who notched a big fat egg in 20 minutes of play. Blatche missed all five field goals and even added three turnovers to his total. Way to get yourself on the trading block, Mr. Blatche.
  • I think Utah’s Derrick Favors is going to have a breakout year, but he has to improve on two things to make this season even more positively memorable – his turnovers and his free throw shooting. Against the Thunder, Favors turned the ball over 6 times, which is 6 times more than a big man like him should register, and missed 4 of 7 freebies.

Final Score: Cleveland 98, Brooklyn 94
Cleveland, OH ( - Anderson Varejao's tie-breaking jump shot with 28.1 seconds left helped get a promising season for the Cleveland Cavaliers off to a terrific start, while simultaneously spoiling the anticipated unveiling of the Brooklyn Nets' star-studded core. The upstart Cavaliers outplayed the experienced Nets down the stretch to come away with a 98-94 victory at Quicken Loans Arena and make head coach Mike Brown's second tour of duty behind the Cleveland bench a successful return. Tristan Thompson netted 18 points for the Cavs, who haven't won more than 24 games in the three seasons since Brown was fired and LeBron James famously took his talents to South Beach following the 2009-10 season. Kyrie Irving overcame a 4-for-16 shooting display to chip in 15 points, nine assists and several big plays down the stretch to help Cleveland prevail. The Nets made a giant offseason splash by landing perennial All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett along with fellow accomplished veteran Jason Terry in a blockbuster nine-player trade with Boston. However, the expected Eastern Conference contenders couldn't get over the hump in this one after fighting back from a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter. Pierce finished with 17 points and Terry made four shots from beyond the arc in a 14-point effort off the bench. Garnett scored just eight points, but pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds in the loss.

Final Score: Philadelphia 114, Miami 110
Philadelphia, PA ( - Michael Carter-Williams impressed in his first career game with nine steals, setting a record for the most in an NBA debut, as the Philadelphia 76ers opened their season with a shocking 114-110 win over the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Carter-Williams also had 22 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds in Brett Brown's first game as head coach of the 76ers. Evan Turner led the team in scoring with 26 points, while Spencer Hawes added 24 points and nine rebounds on the night of Philadelphia legend Allen Iverson's retirement. The 76ers' win snapped a string of 15 straight losses to the Heat, which included their last seven in Philadelphia. LeBron James tallied 25 points and 13 assists for Miami, which won convincingly at home over the Bulls in its season debut on Tuesday. Chris Bosh scored 22 points with 10 rebounds, while Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers both contributed four 3-pointers in defeat. The Heat decided to sit All-Star guard Dwayne Wade for precautionary reasons.

Final Score: Toronto 93, Boston 87
Toronto, ON ( - Rudy Gay had 19 points and eight rebounds, Kyle Lowry added 11 points and eight assists and the Toronto Raptors spoiled Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens' NBA debut with a 93-87 win on Wednesday night. Boston's Jeff Green led all scorers with 25 points in the loss. The Celtics trimmed a 12-point halftime deficit with a 23-8 run to tie the game 71-71 heading into the fourth quarter. The back-and-forth affair continued for much of the final frame until Amir Johnson hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring to put the Raptors up by four with just over six minutes to play and they never trailed after that. Toronto's Tyler Hansbrough and Jonas Valanciunas both recorded double digits in rebounds with 12 and 11, respectively. Boston, playing its first game without 15-year veteran Paul Pierce, relied heavily on the efforts of veterans Jeff Green and Brandon Bass down the stretch. They were also without forward Kevin Garnett and sharp- shooter Jason Terry, who both accompanied Pierce to Brooklyn in a draft-night trade for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks.

Final Score: Detroit 113, Washington 102
Auburn Hills, MI ( - Greg Monroe tallied 24 points and 16 rebounds to help the Detroit Pistons to a 113-102 win over the Washington Wizards in the season opener for both teams. Prized offseason acquisition Josh Smith filled the stat sheet with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for Detroit, which has had Washington's number of late. The Pistons improved to 17-3 in the last 20 meetings with the Wizards. Will Bynum started for Brandon Jennings, who will miss the first week of the season after undergoing treatment for impacted wisdom teeth earlier this month, and registered 19 points and five assists in the victory. Jennings came to Detroit in a deal that sent former No. 7 overall pick Brandon Knight to Milwaukee. Andre Drummond had 12 points and eight boards on an efficient 6-of-7 from the floor in Mo Cheeks' debut behind Detroit's bench. Trevor Ariza and John Wall both went for double-doubles in the defeat. Ariza sank six triples en route to a game-high 28 points and added 10 boards, while Wall needed 21 shots for 20 points with 11 assists.

Final Score: New York 90, Milwaukee 83
New York, NY ( - Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds and the New York Knicks escaped with a 90-83 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the season opener for both teams. After outscoring the Bucks 32-13 in the second quarter to take a 56-31 lead at halftime, New York squandered its margin over the final 24 minutes but closed the game on a 10-2 burst to secure the victory. Raymond Felton had 18 points, Iman Shumpert netted 16 and Tyson Chandler tallied 10 points and six rebounds for the Knicks, who shot 50.7 percent from the floor, but turned the ball over 22 times. Gary Neal poured in 16 points to lead Milwaukee, which went 38-44 a year ago before falling to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The newly-acquired Brandon Knight, who is expected to take over the point guard duties vacated by Brandon Jennings, exited early with a hamstring injury.

Final Score: Houston 96, Charlotte 83
Houston, TX ( - Dwight Howard showed why he was the most coveted free agent of this past offseason, matching a career high with 26 rebounds in his Houston debut to help the Rockets to a 96-83 season-opening victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at the Toyota Center. Howard, who inked a four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets in July after a prolonged courtship by several suitors, added 17 points in his first game with his new team. James Harden totaled 21 points in the win, with Francisco Garcia tallying 19 and fellow reserve Jeremy Lin scoring 16 for Houston. Behind Howard's efforts and a 14-rebound performance from counterpart big man Omer Asik, the Rockets dominated Charlotte on the glass to the tune of a 54-37 advantage. Josh McRoberts paced the Bobcats with 15 points and Ramon Sessions had 14 in the loss. Al Jefferson, Charlotte's major free-agent pickup over the summer, finished with 13 points and eight rebounds while playing through a sprained ankle.

Dwight Howard looks really comfortable manning
the middle for the Houston Rockets.
(image by Bob Levey/AFP)

Final Score: Minnesota 120, Orlando 115
Minneapolis, MN ( - Kevin Love had a monster game with 31 points and 17 rebounds, including a late 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime, and the Minnesota Timberwolves came through with a 120-115 victory over the Orlando Magic at Target Center. Kevin Martin scored seven of his 23 points in the extra stanza to help the Timberwolves win their season opener. With Minnesota down 103-100 with 12 seconds left in regulation, Timberwolves' head coach Rick Adelman called a sideline out-of-bounds play for Love, who came off a pick from Nikola Pekovic and buried the three to tie the game. Orlando's Arron Afflalo had a team-high 28 points and Nikola Vucevic recorded his first double-double of 2013-14 with 22 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.

Final Score: Indiana 95, New Orleans 90
New Orleans, LA ( - Paul George scored 19 of his 32 points in the second half and the Indiana Pacers raced past the new-name New Orleans Pelicans 95-90 after a big fourth quarter on Wednesday night. Indiana outscored New Orleans 36-24 in the fourth behind eight points apiece from George and George Hill, who finished with 19 overall. Lance Stephenson had 16 points and David West scored 12 for the Pacers, who also needed a big fourth quarter Tuesday night at home to down the Orlando Magic in their season opener. The Pelicans -- nee Hornets -- started their season with a new name and renovated arena and got 25 points from Eric Gordon and 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Jrue Holiday in his New Orleans debut. Former No. 1 pick Anthony Davis had 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for the Pelicans, who led by as many as 16.

Final Score: Dallas 118, Atlanta 109
Dallas, TX ( - Monta Ellis made an immediate impression on his new fans in Dallas with a 32-point, eight-assist effort in his debut as the Mavericks upended the Atlanta Hawks 118-109 in the season opener Wednesday. Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting for the Mavericks, who look to return to the postseason after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1999-2000. Vince Carter dropped 21 points off the bench and Jose Calderon, who played big minutes with backup point guards Devin Harris and Shane Larkin on the shelf with injuries, handed out 11 assists. Jeff Teague paced Atlanta with 24 points and nine assists. Free-agent addition Paul Millsap netted 20 in his Hawks debut and Cartier Martin scored 17 points in under 17 minutes off the bench.

Final Score: San Antonio 101, Memphis 94
San Antonio, TX ( - The San Antonio Spurs began their journey to atone for last season's gut-wrenching NBA Finals defeat by beating a familiar foe. Kawhi Leonard led a balanced Spurs attack with 14 points and seven rebounds as San Antonio downed the Memphis Grizzlies, 101-94, in the season opener for both teams and a rematch of last year's Western Conference Final. Ray Allen chucked in a wild game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds remaining in regulation in Game 6 of the title round before the Miami Heat prevailed in overtime in Game 7 for back-to-back NBA championships. San Antonio outscored the Grizzlies 30-7 in the second quarter Wednesday and led by as many as 21 before holding off Memphis in the fourth.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 101, Utah 98
Salt Lake City, UT ( - Kevin Durant made 22 free throws and scored 42 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held on for a 101-98 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night in the season-opener for both teams. Utah's Gordon Hayward pulled up in front of Durant and missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Durant and the Thunder started the season without guard Russell Westbrook and got 14 points apiece from guards Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson. Westbrook probably won't be back for at least a month after he had a second surgery Oct. 1 on the knee he injured in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The Jazz, in the midst of a rebuild after missing the playoffs for the second time in seven seasons, were led by Alec Burks' 24 points off the bench. Five other players scored in double digits. The Thunder led 57-48 at halftime, then shot only 34.2 percent in the second half. The Jazz played their way back into the game in the fourth quarter as the Thunder shot 23.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Final Score: Phoenix 104, Portland 91
Phoenix, AZ ( - Goran Dragic registered 26 points and nine rebounds as the Phoenix Suns defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-91, in their season opener at US Airways Center. Eric Bledsoe had 22 points on 7- of-12 shooting for new coach Jeff Hornacek. Miles Plumlee and PJ Tucker both dropped a career-high 18 points, with Plumlee grabbing 15 rebounds as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak in season openers. Damian Lillard poured in a game-high 32 points and made 6-of-12 shots from beyond the arc in defeat. LaMarcus Aldridge netted 28 points while Nicolas Batum had 13 rebounds. The Trail Blazers have now lost a franchise-record 14 straight games dating back to last season.

Final Score: Sacramento 90, Denver 88
Sacramento, CA ( - Jason Thompson's go-ahead putback dunk with 41.5 seconds remaining helped the Sacramento Kings down the Denver Nuggets, 90-88, in the season opener for both teams. DeMarcus Cousins, signed to a four-year, $62 million extension during the offseason, had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings, who stayed in Sacramento after the NBA rejected a relocation attempt to Seattle. Greivis Vasquez, acquired in the Tyreke Evans trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, netted 17 points and Isaiah Thomas added 16 off the bench in the triumph. Ty Lawson had 20 points and eight assists for Denver, which started off the Brian Shaw era with a loss. Shaw took over after last year's Coach of the Year George Karl was fired after losing a first-round series for the eighth time in his nine seasons as head coach.

Final Score: Golden State 125, LA Lakers 94
Oakland, CA ( - One night after shocking the heavily-favored Clippers and making a statement to the rest of the league with a win at Staples Center, the Lakers showed their true colors. Playing in front of a rowdy crowd at Oracle Arena, Los Angeles fell to the Golden State Warriors, 125-94, on Wednesday. Klay Thompson led the way for the Warriors with a career-high 38 points on 15- of-19 efficiency before departing late in the third quarter to a rousing ovation from his home crowd. David Lee added 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the triumph. Stephen Curry, who led Golden State to the Western Conference semifinals a season ago, scored 10 points to go with a game-high six assists. The Lakers were without point guard Steve Nash, who turns 40 in February. Nash announced during the preseason that he will occasionally sit out the second game of a back-to-back this season. Jodie Meeks replaced Nash in the starting lineup and dropped 14 points for the Lakers, who assisted on just 19 baskets compared to 34 helpers for Golden State.


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