NEW YORK (AP)
Tyrese Maxey scored 20 points, Julian Champagnie and Furkan Korkmaz finished with 15 each as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated Brooklyn 127-108 on Monday night as the Nets finally had all three of their big stars on the floor at the same time.
Kevin Durant had 13 points for the Nets, Kyrie Irving had nine points and four assists and Ben Simmons – making his first appearance for Brooklyn since he was acquired from Philadelphia last season – added six points and five assists.
Nic Claxton scored 12 points, making all six of his shots from the field, for the Nets, Edmond Sumner also scored 12 while Royce O’Neale – acquired from Utah in an offseason trade – finished with 11 points.
The marquee matchup Monday featured potentially two of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference with superstars on both squads. There are the questions about Simmons, traded last season to the Nets for James Harden, and whether pairing him with Durant, Irving and other pieces will be enough for the Nets to eclipse last season’s disappointing 44-38 record.
As for the Sixers, having Harden with MVP runner-up Joel Embiid for a full season should solidify Philadelphia’s spot as a top contender in the East.
But the full vision of those connections will have to wait.
For the preseason opener, the Sixers played a shell of their regular rotation. Embiid, Harden, newcomers Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker took the night off.
Maxey took up the offensive slack with the absences, as the Sixers took an early lead with the help of 8-for-14 shooting on 3-pointers in the first quarter.
By the time halftime arrived, Philadelphia still held the lead behind Maxey’s 20 points. The three keys for the Nets – Durant, Irving and Simmons – played 19 minutes, and their night was done.
By the midway point of the third quarter, both teams had moved on to their reserves in what became a close game until the Sixers pulled away, outscoring the Nets 36-24 in the third.
While most of the focus for the Nets was on Durant, Irving and Simmons finally being on the court together, Brooklyn also saw the return of Joe Harris, who suffered a left ankle injury that eventually required surgery in March. Harris connected on 2 of 7 3-pointers, finishing with six points.
THUNDER 112, NUGGETS 101
Tre Mann scored 17 points, Josh Giddey fell one assist short of a triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists to lead Oklahoma City past Denver in the return of Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.
Aaron Wiggins had 15 points for the Thunder, while Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 11 points. Mann and Giddey both were 6 of 11 from the field, part of Oklahoma City shooting better than 50% through the midway point of the fourth quarter.
Jalen Williams from Santa Clara, the No. 12 overall pick in last summer’s draft, finished with 10 points.
Murray, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, finished with 10 points, as did Aaron Gordon. Zeke Nnaji, the 22nd pick in the 2020 draft, led the Nuggets with 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. finished with 12 points and Jeff Green scored 11 points.
Denver center Nikola Jokic, the league’s reigning most valuable player, had two points, missing his only shot from the field in 15 minutes.
GRIZZLIES 109; MAGIC 97
Ja Morant, making his preseason debut, scored 22 points and handed out seven assists to help Memphis beat Orlando.
Morant added four rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes for Memphis. Santi Aldama, who could earn additional minutes with forward Jaren Jackson Jr. out to start the season, scored 21 points, going 7 of 9 from the field, including missing only one of his five 3-point attempts. Brandon Clarke added 13 points, connecting on 5 of 9 shots.
Cole Anthony led the Magic with 17 points, and Moritz Wagner finished with 15 points. R.J. Hampton contributed 14 points and seven assists.
Paolo Banchero, the top pick in last summer’s draft, scored eight points, going 2 of 9 from the field in 24 minutes.
CLIPPERS 102; TRAIL BLAZERS 97
Paul George had 12 points and seven rebounds, Kawhi Leonard scored 11 points as Los Angeles played with a full complement of its starters in a win over Portland.
Amir Coffey led the Clippers in scoring with 15 points and Brandon Boston Jr. added 10 points, but it was return of the Los Angeles stars that was the highlight of the night.
After sitting out the opening win of the preseason against Maccabi Ra’anana, Leonard, George, Reggie Jackson and John Wall saw action against the Trail Blazers. For Leonard, it was his first time on the court since an ACL injury kept him out of action all of last season.
Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 16 points over 23 minutes. Jerami Grant scored 14 points, while center Jusuf Nurkic finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
KINGS 105, LAKERS 75
Keegan Murray, the No. 4 pick in last summer’s draft, scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field and Sacramento used a third-quarter rally to beat Los Angeles.
Murray, the 6-foot-8 forward out of Iowa, also connected on 2 of 4 from outside the arc and grabbed six rebounds in his first preseason appearance. De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes scored 10 points each for the Kings.
Anthony Davis had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cole Swider scored 10 points for the Lakers.
LeBron James played 16 minutes and missed all seven of his shots while finishing with four points. Russell Westbrook had five points and three assists.
The game was close in the first half before the Kings used a 35-13 third quarter to pull away.
The Lakers committed 23 turnovers that led to 30 points for the Kings, who only turned the ball over seven times.