It’s a make or miss league. With that comes the simple fact every night in the NBA there are winners and there are losers.
In this new column at PBT, five nights a week we will lay out the nights winners and losers in NBA action for you — not just the teams and on the scoreboard, but in every facet of the game. No better time to start than on an interesting opening night.
New Orleans Pelicans’ front line. We told you just how great Anthony Davis (third best player in the NBA?) was on opening night, but the guy next to him along the front line, Omer Asik, had a monster night, too. The pair combined for 40 points, 34 points and 14 blocked shots. They were defensive beasts and just overwhelmed the Magic (although Nikola Vucevic played well). This is not a one-off performance. These guys are why the Pelicans are a playoff threat. —KH
Every Spur besides Kyle Anderson. The Spurs returned an impressive 14 players from their 2014 title team, and they received their championship rings before Tuesday’s game. Getting the rings is special, but for so many players who battled together last season to get the jewelry together, it adds another level. At least the rookie Anderson, the team’s lone newcomer, got an up-close look at the ceremony and San Antonio’s 101-100 win over the Mavericks. —DF
Chandler Parsons. Parsons, whom the Mavericks gave a near-max offer sheet this summer, didn’t live up to the billing in his first game with Dallas. The small forward scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting and had no assists in 34 minutes against San Antonio. There’s no sense drawing conclusions from one game, but if Parsons had played just a little closer to expectations, the Mavericks might have won. —DF
James Harden. While all the talk leading into the opening night was about the feud between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard (and they had their little moment) the night really belonged to Harden. All game long he abused the Lakers in transition, he hit a step-back jumper over Kobe, posted up Ronnie Prince and generally did whatever he wanted to. The Lakers had no answers. Harden finished with 32 points on 17 shots (he got to the line 16 times). He looked like what he is — the best two guard in the NBA.—KH
The hopes of Lakers fans everywhere. Not only did the Lakers look utterly lost on defense, not only did their offense look unimaginative and it led to too many midrange jumpers, not only did Dwight Howard and the Rockets just own the Lakers, but then on top of it all their prized rookie draft pick Julius Randle goes down with a fractured tibia in his right leg. That likely means surgery, it certainly means missing a healthy chunk of the season. Ugh. This season is looking like a dreary slog for Lakers fans.—KH