by Brett Weisband| @weisband
Bulls 82, Knicks 81
Bulls fans waited 551 days between Derrick Rose home games. They let him know just how much they missed him as he came onto the floor.
They waited another five-plus minutes for him to get his first bucket. That hoop was one of the last highlights for the next 12 or so minutes of game time, other than the Halloween-flavored uniforms on court. Rose struggled to find his shot, going 2-11 in an ugly first half. The two teams combined for 21 turnovers and 4-15 long range shooting in the first half.
Rose (18 points, 7-23 shooting) got his stroke going after half, though, knocking down two straightaway triples to start the third. Late in the quarter, Carmelo Anthony decided it was his turn to get in on the action, hitting two mid-range shots and three pointer in a 2:16 span. Even so, the Bulls took a 10-point lead into the fourth.
Chicago went ice cold in the fourth, letting the Knicks get right back into the game. As the Bulls missed shot after shot, Melo, who finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and a surprising 6 steals, helped pull New York into the lead. The game went into the final minute tied at 80. The Knicks caught a break, as an out of bounds call was reversed in their favor. While they couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing possession, Tyson Chandler (7 points, 19 rebounds and 4 blocks) drew a foul as he battled Joakim Noah (6 and 15) for the rebound to head to the line, where he made 1-2.
On the Bulls’ final possession, down a point, Tom Thibodeau decided to see what his returning superstar could do, and D. Rose delivered. Rose got the ball on the wing, drove right, and put up his patented floater over two defenders. Buckets. Of course.
Melo missed a last second jumper, and the Bulls got the win in their home opener. Luol Deng played a big role in Chicago, dropping 17 on one of the few solid shooting performances of the night (8-15 from the field).
Clippers 126, Warriors 115
Welcome to the new West. After years as doormats, the Warriors and Clippers start this season as two of the favorites in the conference after their moves over the summer.
Two of the biggest reasons these franchises have risen to prominence are their smallest players: Chris Paul and Steph Curry. Those two both lit it up early and often at the Staples Center. CP3 came an assist short of a double-double in the first half, and even added in a fastbreak dunk just to remind people that he can. Curry nearly matched Paul’s scoring outburst, raining in his usual array of lightning-quick jumpers.
Things got heated early, as DeAndre Jordan and Andrew Bogut got into a shoving match after Bogut delivered a hard foul, hinting that this rivalry could get even chippier as the season goes on.
LA went into half with a 13-point lead, and things didn’t get much prettier for Golden State after that. Paul, as he’s known to do, completely controlled the game, finishing with 42 points, 15 assists and 6 steals. He got plenty of help, too, with Blake Griffin contributing 23 and 10 rebounds. Even though Griffin retired Lob City before the season, it was reincorporated in the Clips’ first game under their own banners. In a 32-second span in the third, CP3 hit Blake for three straight oops, pushing LA’s lead 18.
The Clippers had three other players in double figures: their hot-shooting new pieces, JJ Redick and Jared Dudley, and sixth man Jamal Crawford. Jordan pulled down 17 boards for the Clips, but went just 3-12 from the line (including an airball), which will be a concern for Doc all season.
Golden State took the L despite 38 from Steph, who went a ridiculous 9-14 from deep. (Side note: When does Ray Allen start worrying about his all-time record?) David Lee continued his solid start to the season with 22 points in just 29 minutes, but Klay Thompson couldn’t repeat his effort from the Lakers game and finished with just 10 points on 3-7 from the floor. Andre Iguodala did what he does for the Dubs, putting up a double-double with 14 and 11 assists to go with 2 steals.
Even though this one wasn’t close, it’s safe to say that the games between these two young squads are going to be among the most fun all season.