It’s officially LABron season.
The Lakers’ biggest star made his Los Angeles debut Saturday against Houston with an opening fit for a king. Yellow No. 23 jerseys filled the Staples Center and a star-studded audience looked on for James’ first introductions in his new home.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) October 21, 2018
Despite the Lakers’ 124-115 loss to the Rockets, James gave fans plenty to cheer for.
He finished the game with 24 points, five rebounds and five assists. Los Angeles is still finding its rhythm this early in the season, but it shouldn’t take long with the veteran forward leading the charge.
Studs of the night
Veteran guard Kemba Walker had a performance for the record books. He now has the most made 3-pointers (19) through any team’s first 3 games in NBA history, not to mention he sunk the game-winning free throw with 0.5 seconds on the clock. Walker pushed the Hornets to a 113-112 performance behind 39 points. His game-high numbers also made him the first player to score 10,000 career points in Charlotte.
The Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic recorded a double-double in the team’s 119-91 thumping of the Suns. It was the 17th of his career. Jokic finished the contest with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. His game-high performance came from shooting a perfect 11 for 11 from the field and 3 for 3 from 3-point range. Jokic made all but one of his 12 free throws. He was unstoppable at the Pepsi Center.
Rookie Luka Doncic didn’t disappoint in the Mavericks home opener. He netted 26 points in the narrow 140-136 victory over the Timberwolves. He played the most of any Mavs starter and had the totals to prove it. Doncic also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists.
What time is it? Dame time. Damian Lillard had a game-high 29 points in the Trail Blazers’ 121-108 win over the Spurs. He was closing in on a double-double, but was one shy with nine assists.
Duds of the night
The Suns were great in their season opener against the Mavericks, but on the road against the Nuggets it seemed like a handful of players left their game back in the desert. Deandre Ayton, Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson fell flat, as Devin Booker and Isaiah Canaan had to carry the weight of the starters. Ayton and Ariza had just five points apiece while Anderson finished with eight.
The 76ers’ JJ Redick was hot from behind the arc. He hit eight 3-pointers against the Magic, including the game-winning shot with 17 seconds left. The 27-foot jumper pulled Philadelphia ahead of Orlando, 116-114. The Magic had a chance to send the game into overtime, but split a pair of free throws to push the score to 116-115 in favor of the home team.
— NBA (@NBA) October 21, 2018
What more could you have asked from the Piston best sixth man? Only a diving layup to win the game. Smith led the bench players with 15 points and five assists. He also grabbed three boards. But what was most impressive was this shot with 5.4 seconds on the clock. Detroit topped Chicago 118-116.
Ish getting it done late! pic.twitter.com/6A6DmK7oJc
— NBA (@NBA) October 21, 2018
Hawks (0-2) at Cavaliers (0-2), 6 p.m. ET — Cleveland is still adjusting to life without its biggest star. The Cavaliers will host the Hawks for their home opener and both teams are still looking for their first win. The hosting Cavs have road losses to the Raptors and Timberwolves, but each contest was close with Cleveland losing by 12 points at most. Atlanta, which boasts rookie Trae Young, has started on a similar path and it will continue its road trip looking to break its losing spell. The Hawks have been led by Taurean Prince, who has averaged 24.5 points through two games, and have been helped by veteran Vince Carter (11 points) and Young (17).