SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Stephen Curry hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds remaining to follow up a 30-footer less than a minute earlier and finished with 45 points in the Golden State Warriors’ 115-113 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
The reigning NBA scoring champion even secured a key rebound with 36 seconds left before calmly converting a pair of free throws with 4.7 seconds on the clock.
Chants of ”MVP!” began late in the first, and by the time the buzzer sounded to finish the initial period, Curry already had topped his total from two nights earlier with 25 points on 9-of-9 shooting and five 3-pointers as Golden State built a 44-27 lead.
The two-time MVP shot just 5 for 21 – making 2 of 8 3s – on the way to 21 points in a season-opening road win at the Lakers on Tuesday night in a performance that he called ”trash.”
Damion Lee hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:55 remaining and scored 11 points off the bench, while Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and six rebounds.
Paul George had 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the Clippers’ season opener, and Eric Bledsoe scored 22 points.
HEAT 137, BUCKS 95
MIAMI (AP) – Tyler Herro scored 27 points in 24 minutes off the bench, Jimmy Butler added 21 and Miami opened the season with an easy victory over NBA champion Milwaukee.
Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who set team records for opening night scoring and opening night margin of victory. It was nearly the biggest margin of victory in any game – falling just short of a 43-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers in 1994.
The previous team record for points in an opener was 128 points against Detroit in 1999, and the biggest margin of victory was 26 points over Orlando in 2000.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points and Grayson Allen added 14 for Milwaukee. Olympic gold medalist Khris Middleton had 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting for the Bucks, who were without, among others, Jrue Holiday (right heel), Brook Lopez (back) and Bobby Portis (left hamstring). Miami outrebounded Milwaukee 58-38.
P.J. Tucker started his Miami debut, against the team that he helped win an NBA title a few months ago, and had eight points and six rebounds.
Tucker committed Miami’s first foul of the game, a reintroduction to Antetokounmpo just 38 seconds into the game. And in the second quarter, Tucker chased down a loose ball and went airborne – crashing into the Milwaukee bench and ending up saying hello to occupants of some of the most expensive seats in the sold-out arena.
HAWKS 113, MAVERICKS 87
ATLANTA (AP) – Cam Reddish scored 20 points, Trae Young added 19 and Atlantabegan a season of high expectations with a rout of Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, ruining the debut of Dallas coach Jason Kidd.
Coming off a surprising run to the Eastern Conference final, the Hawks took control of the game with a dominant third quarter, stretching a 51-44 halftime lead to 86-64 heading to the fourth.
After a sluggish start, Young scored 12 points and dished out nine assists in the decisive period, drawing chants of ”MVP! MVP!” from the home crowd in the very first game. Reddish led a stellar effort from the deep Hawks bench, which contributed 44 points.
The Mavericks were thoroughly miserable in their first game under Kidd, who had not been a head coach since he was fired in Milwaukee during the 2017-18 season.
Doncic was held to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds and seven assists. He didn’t get much help from anyone except Jalen Brunson, who scored 17 off the bench. The Mavericks shot a dismal 32.6% from the field.