NBA Opening Nights: Zion Williamson is a strength in contrast, Ben Simmons is not so much; LeBron Not Enough Lakers

The 2022-23 NBA season is in progress. After Boston beat Philadelphia and the Warriors beat the Lakers on Tuesday, we saw a full slate of games Wednesday night. Here are some of the top opening night headlines with only two teams (Clippers and Bucks) not playing a game.

Zion, the star of Ingram for pelicans

Zion Williamson hit the ground in his first game in over 18 months, netting 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three assists. Williamson is clearly in great shape, and he still has an incredible sense of preparing defenders to get into his left hand, whether that’s with his back to the basket or starting the downhill momentum before catching him. He went straight through Ben Simmons in the paint for throwing the ball on multiple occasions. His second jump is faster and more powerful than ever. Sometimes his best move is to hold onto a pogo in order to miss him while others are still stuck to the ground.

Meanwhile, Brandon Ingram finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists in shooting 10 of 17. One of the league’s best and most frequent contender shooters, he made his powerful shots look effortlessly smooth all night. The Pelicans look great in the process, easily defeating Brooklyn.

Ben Simmons blah in return

Simmons finished with more fouls (six) than points (four), rebounds (five) and assists (five) in his first NBA game since June 2021. He’s mostly worked as a goalkeeper on the half field and made some great indoor passes, but he’s in Mostly it was just another body running there. He had no real impact on the game, as he made only two free throws and was repeatedly attacked by Williamson in the paint.

LeBron is not enough

LeBron James put in 31 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Anthony Davis has 27 and six. Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 11 rebounds on an effective 7 of 12 shot. I wouldn’t say LeBron put in a great performance, though, for the streak, but collectively, you can’t expect more than 77 points and 31 rebounds when shooting 49 percent of This trio, however, has never had a single shot against Golden State for the Lakers in a single game. That wasn’t as close as the 123-109 score suggests.

True, the Warriors might be the best team in the league. But LeBron — and the Lakers for that matter — aren’t measuring his team against a mediocre bar. He wants to compete with the best. For now, with this list, the Lakers will have a hard time doing just that, especially on Westbrook’s less efficient nights, which will be plentiful.

Dirosan blurs the heat

DeMar DeRozan lost in Miami with 37 points and nine assists as the Bulls took a win on opening night. Scored 14 to 22 from the field. He even made two of his three-pointers. Incidentally, DeRozan joined Michael Jordan (who has done so three times) as the only player in Bulls history to have scored at least 30 points, five assists and five rebounds in the season opener. This guy is a complete killer. Moving on from where he left last season.

Falcons love the new back area

In their first game together, Trae Young and Dejounte Murray combined 43 points and 24 assists as the Hawks beat the Rockets. Young hit the free throw line eight times, making them all. Murray had five thefts. The only thing the duo didn’t do well was hit the triple ball (2 vs 14 combined). Throw in De’Andre Hunter, fresh from his $95 million streak, John Collins racked up 46 points in a 19-for-27 shot, and the Hawks are both running.

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

Always frustrated by his lack of offensive involvement in Utah, Rudy Gobert attempted more shots on his Wolverhampton debut (15) than he did in any game for the Jazz last season. Gobert saved the day for Wolverhampton, finishing the match with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Seven of those councils were at the end of the attack. Wondering about the Minnesota Twin Towers lineup? Joubert finished off a pair of passes from Karl-Anthony Towns, who also put Joubert in his first Wolves’ costume bucket.

You knew it was Joubert’s night when he hit a 22-foot float to close out the third quarter:

Much Morant

The Knicks rushed 19 down in the second half to force extra time in Memphis, but Ja Morant was just too much along the stretch, reaching the rim and coating for his untenable pontoon. Morant finished with 34 points and nine assists, defeating three of his six three-pointers to put the Grizzlies on the right foot.

Damion Lee lifts the Suns

After trailing by 22 in the third quarter, the Suns made a huge rally to shock the Mavericks. Devin Booker scored 28 points, but it was Damion Lee, who scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, who hit the game winner with less than 10 seconds to play.

Steve Curry, Lee’s brother-in-law (Lee is married to Curry’s sister) who, of course, used to be my teammate with the Warriors, was so excited that he woke up his kid during the party.

Boston comes out sharp

Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 70 points (35 each) in a combined shot of 61 percent (27 to 44) in the Celtics’ win over Philly on Tuesday. Grant Williams, who was perfect from the field, including 3 of 3 from deep, and Malcolm Brugdon combined for 31 points from the bench. Although Boston lost 117 points, the defense usually looked oppressive in periods. Tatum added 12 boards and was aggressive in pushing the pace of errors, something Boston as a whole was bent on doing. In at least one match, the stop drama of Ime Udoka didn’t seem to affect the Celtics the slightest.

Banshiro starts off

Orlando Magic rookie Paulo Banchero announced his arrival in the NBA with near-historic authority, scoring 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 11 of 18 rebounds on Wednesday. That makes Banchero the third player in the past three decades to go 25-5-5 on his NBA debut, joining LeBron James and Grant Hill, and his 27 points are the most on his debut by a No. 1 pick overall since now. Allen Iverson ranked 30th in 1996.

Harden looks good

James Harden finished with 35 points in a 9-14 in Philly opener. He made five of his nine three-pointers and was a perfect 12 against 12 of the free throw line (it was annoying as ever with false drop/landing space errors on three-pointers, with a total of three of them tied with a four-point play). Philly was not burdened with isolations. Play Pick and Roll or keep moving. He is not smitten by people, but he has always been in paint and is still an elite passerby. (seven passes). The defense, as might be expected, was lazy on many occasions. But this is Harden.

Denver lays an egg

There is not much to be said about this. The Nuggets, presumed to be a contender for the championship, lost 21 to Jazz, who, despite having a roster full of NBA players on rotation level, would eventually end up as one of the worst teams in the league. Not how Denver saw it.

Balance of birds of prey

Toronto was the only team in the league last season to have five players averaging at least 15 points per game, and all five of those five made at least 15 points again in the opening night win over the Cavaliers. Pascal Siakam led the way with 23, followed by Gary Trent Jr. with 19, OG Anunoby with 18, and Fred Vanfleet and Scotty Barnes with 15 each. Barnes, who will take over the guard role this season, finished with seven assists.

Mitchell is not enough for Cleveland Island

Donovan Mitchell had an astonishing debut in Cleveland with 31 points and nine assists, but the Cavs were unable to hold the fort when he was off the field (plus 10 with him, minus 13 without him) in a 108-105 loss to Toronto. Mitchell sat just three minutes, 35 seconds into the second half, and Cleveland lost that job 13-3.

Brave fox in defeat

Dearon Fox fired the Blazers with 33 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and shot 5 of 9 from deep, but Sacramento couldn’t hold onto a late lead at home. With just over a minute to play and Kings up one, Fox tried to make his way to the edge against Jerami Grant’s retreat, but Grant never lost his radar lock on Fox and took the hit in the box right on a charge. From that point on the Blazers outperformed Sacramento 10-2. This was the last of Fox’s eight transformations. He’s been great in every other area, but that just won’t get it done.

Steve Curry on Autopilot

Curry’s 3-point shot (4 for 13) was stopped for the most part on episode night for the Warriors, but that doesn’t matter. He’s just a professional scorer. Until he had a few 3s during a short wave of the third quarter, he simply did his job going over the edge and hitting the line (it was a 9 versus 9 of the charity bar). It looked like he was sweating hard.


#NBA #Opening #Nights #Zion #Williamson #strength #contrast #Ben #Simmons #LeBron #Lakers

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