Post Up: Giannis Antetokounmpo goes off in Boston

by October 19, 2017
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Bucks 108 (1-0), Celtics 100 (0-2)

It was an emotional night in Boston as the Celtics were still reeling from Gordon Hayward’s frightening injury on Tuesday. Hayward spoke to the crowd at TD Garden before the game in a pre-recorded video, telling fans and teammates he was going to be OK.

His teammates did their best to make up for his absence, but there are some things you just can’t stop. Like Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Those were two of his 37 points and he was crucial in helping his team overcome a 14-2 Boston run that put the Celtics up six with nine minutes to go. The Bucks outscored the Celtics 28-14 the rest of the way.

It was the second straight loss for a Celtics team that is nevertheless still filled with talent and potential. Jaylen Brown had 18 and Kyrie Irving had 17 for Boston.

Magic 116 (1-0), Heat 109 (0-1)

The Magic led 97-80 with 9:58 to play. Seven minutes later, it was a two-point game.

Evan Fournier had seven points over the final 2:27 to make sure the Magic did not squander the lead completely, as the Magic held on to beat their in-state foes and start the season on a winning note. Fournier led the Magic with 23 points, while Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Hassan Whiteside had 26 to lead Miami.

Pistons 102 (1-0), Hornets 90 (0-1)

With a little help from Eminem, the Pistons opened their season with a hard-fought win over the Hornets.

Kemba Walker did Kemba Walker things (and had 24 points) to provide the highlights for Charlotte, but it was not enough.

That’s because Tobias Harris went off for 27 points on 11-18 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. Reggie Jackson had 13 points and eight assists in the win.

Wizards 120 (1-0), 76ers 115 (0-1)

Remember that John Wall guy? He ushered in the new year in jaw-dropping fashion:

Wall finished with 27 points, while Marcin Gortat was a monster inside. He had 16 points and 17 boards.

The youthful Sixers were in it until the end. They used a 17-6 second quarter run to erase an early deficit and go into the locker room up three. The kids all shined for Philadelphia — Ben Simmons had 18 and 10, Joel Embiid had 18 and 13, and last year’s No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz came off the bench to add 10 more. The veterans did their part as well, namely JJ Reddick, who shot 4-8 from three and Robert Covington, who was 7-11 from long range and scored a game-high 29.

Grizzlies 103 (1-0), Pelicans 91 (0-1)

Dillon Brooks had 19 points in his NBA debut to help lift the Grizzlies to a season-opening victory.

Perhaps the highlight of the night, however, wasn’t anything that happened on the court. The Grizzlies gave Pelicans guard Tony Allen a special tribute between the first and second quarters, thanking him for his seven years in Memphis.

The usual suspects were at it again for the Pelicans: Anthony Davis had 33 points and 18 rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins had 28 and 10. 

Pacers 140 (1-0), Nets 131 (0-1)

Defense was optional in Indianapolis as the Pacers and Nets opened their seasons with a back-and-forth shootout. 10 Pacers saw action and eight scored in double figures, including Myles Turner, who had a double-double with 21 and 14, to go with four blocks.

D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 30 points on 12-22 shooting with five assists.

For Brooklyn, however, an apparent knee injury to Jeremy Lin is much more of a concern than the first-night loss. Lin fell on a layup attempt and needed to be helped to the locker room. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Lin will be evaluated Thursday.

Lin after the game:

Hawks 117 (1-0), Mavericks 11 (0-1)

In a game that came down to the final minute, some clutch free throws from Taurean Prince and Dewayne Dedmon lifted the Hawks to victory.

On the bright side for Dallas, Dennis Smith Jr. shined in his NBA debut with 16 points, 10 assists, and one of these:

Dennis Schroeder led all scorers with 28.

Jazz 106 (1-0), Nuggets 96 (0-1)

Here’s how you know it’s your night:

That was two of Joe Johnson’s 13 points off the bench and it was the beginning of a comeback that carried into the fourth quarter, where the Jazz outscored the Nuggets 28-13. Utah took the lead for good on a three from Alec Burks with just under 10 minutes to play.

Rudy Gobert had 18 to lead the Jazz, while Will Barton had 23 for the Nuggets. 

Spurs 107 (1-0), Timberwolves 99 (0-1)

The 2017-18 edition of the LaMarcus Aldridge Show tipped off with a flourish, as he scored 25 points to go with 10 rebounds and four assists. Perhaps no play, however, quite as impressive as this one:

But the outcome was in doubt until the end, and Memphis even held a one-point lead with just over five minutes left. From there, the Spurs scored eight in a row to put the game away.

Rockets 105 (2-0), Kings 100 (0-1)

The Rockets took a tough hit before the game even started, when the team announced that Chris Paul would sit out with a knee injury.

So, James Harden and Eric Gordon combined for 52 points and 12 assists (nine from Harden) and Clint Capela had 22 more to provide all the firepower that the Rockets needed.

The Kings hung tough behind 21 and 10 from Willie Cauley-Stein and 19 points from Buddy Hield.

Trail Blazers 124 (1-0) Suns 76 (0-1)

You read that right.

The Trail Blazers dominated the Suns from start to finish and outscored Phoenix 69-34 in the middle two quarters in what was a laugher of a game.

The numbers tell the story: Portland shot 58 percent from three, Phoenix shot 26 percent. The Blazers out-rebounded the Suns 57-33. Damian Lillard dropped 27 and Pat Connaughton had 24 more.

Never a doubt.