Post Up: Mile-High Masterpiece

Damian Lillard propelled the Trail Blazers to an overtime win in Denver.
by October 30, 2016

Trail Blazers 115 (2-1), Nuggets 113 (1-1)

If Damian Lillard can keep this up, he’ll have a legitimate claim for MVP candidacy. Dame torched Denver for 37 points with seven dimes, forcing overtime and then hitting the dagger with under five seconds left in the game.

The Nuggets received stellar play from their big men, as Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic scored a combined 35 points with 26 rebounds. Emmanuel Mudiay (21 points, seven boards, five turnovers) was unable to contain Dame or C.J. McCollum, however, which wound up being the difference.

Oddly enough, the game would be delayed 20+ minutes due to a power outage at the Pepsi Center.

Hawks 104 (2-0), 76ers 72 (0-2)

Joel Embiid had another nice performance from the field, as “The Process” went 5-of-9 with a pair of blocks and a steal. The Sixers were otherwise outgunned in this afternoon match-up; Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap combined for 32 points, Mike Muscala and Kris Humphries swatted two shots each and Dennis Schroder double-doubled to lock up this one for Atlanta. Richaun Holmes provided the Sixers with some early fireworks with this alley-oop:

Celtics 104 (2-1), Hornets 98 (2-1)

Kemba Walker scored 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting in Charlotte’s home opener. Avery Bradley was determined to rain on the Hornets’ parade, however; dropping 31 points with 11 dimes in his first breakout performance of 2016-17. Coach Brad Stevens will have even more rotation options once Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk return from injury. Also worth noting: Gerald Green got some minutes off the bench.

Cavaliers 105 (3-0), Magic 99 (0-3)

Despite 22 points from Evan Fournier, 7-of-12 shooting from Serge Ibaka and four steals from Aaron Gordon, the Cavs remained undefeated thanks to a combined 43 points from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Not only did LeBron baptize Nikola Vucevic on a first quarter dunk, he also showed off his elite court vision with this dish to Mike Dunleavy:

Knicks 111 (1-1), Grizzlies 104 (1-1)

The Knicks didn’t disappoint in their home opener, riding a combined 41 points from Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis to victory. Similarly, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were contributors in a starting role. Rose dazzled the MSG crowd with this spin move on Mike Conley, and Noah collected 10 boards.

Despite 20 points from Marc Gasol and a near double-double from Z-Bo off the bench, the Grizzlies will look to regroup against the Wizards on Sunday.

Bulls 118 (2-0), Pacers 101 (1-2)

Doug McDermott outscored everyone at the United Center on Saturday, dropping a team-high 23 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Rajon Rondo distributed 13 assists in the W, and Isaiah Canaan added 11 points off the bench. Michael Carter-Williams has had a quiet tenure in Chicago thus far; totaling 12 points in his two games with the Bulls.

Myles Turner and Paul George scored 20 points apiece, but the Pacers were hamstrung by a combined 1-for-13 shooting performance from Monta Ellis and Jeff Teague.

Bucks 110 (1-1), Nets 108 (1-2)

Bojan Bogdanovic went off for 26 points and eight boards, not to mention thisΒ impressive dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks would rally behind 43 combined points from the Greek Freak and Rashad Vaughn to set up a dramatic game-ending from John Henson:

Tony Snell scored six points in his Bucks debut, and Matthew Dellavedova was one assist shy of a double-double.

Spurs 98 (3-0), Pelicans 79 (0-3)

Despite the absence of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in their home opener against New Orleans, San Antonio cruised to a 19-point behind 20 points from Kawhi Leonard. The Pelicans simply don’t have the depth to compete when Anthony Davis isn’t electric, and his 18-point night wasn’t enough on Saturday. Patty Mills racked up 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, and E’Twaun Moore scored 18 points for the Pels.

Kings 106 (2-1), Timberwolves 103 (0-2)

DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay combined for 57 points with 12 boards in Sacramento’s close win over Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves. Minnesota received a standout performance from Andrew Wiggins (29 points, one block), who has excelled under new coach Tom Thibodeau. Gorgui Dieng recorded a double-double, but the young Timberwolves are still winless on the season.