On title ring night, Stephen Curry leads the Golden State Warriors; Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown lead the Boston Celtics past the Philadelphia 76ers.
109-123 Los Angeles Lakers Warriors of the Golden State
Stephen Curry scored 33 points, dished out seven assists, and grabbed six rebounds as the Golden State Warriors defeated LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 123-109 on Tuesday night after receiving their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony.
Highlights: Warriors 109-123 Lakers
Jordan Poole made a nice bounce pass to a driving Draymond Green for a layup, and everything seemed fine with the defending champions almost two weeks after Green punched Poole at practice on October 5, then took a brief leave of absence to work on his emotions. Poole finished the game with 12 points and seven assists.
Russell Westbrook scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds despite a sore left hamstring, while LeBron James had 31 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. Anthony Davis added 27 points, but the Lakers couldn't keep up with Curry and company in another signature, runaway third quarter.
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Klay Thompson scored 18 points in 20 minutes for the Warriors, who won their fourth championship in eight years.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr limited Thompson's and Green's minutes, who was absent from the team until last Thursday. Kerr stated that he will increase Thompson's minutes per game as a precaution after his return in January from a two-and-a-half-year absence due to surgeries on his left knee and right Achilles tendon.
Warriors center James Wiseman made his first appearance since his rookie season of 2019-20, after missing the entire previous season due to right knee surgery. He finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
The Lakers will host the Los Angeles Clippers in their home opener on Thursday, while the Warriors will host Denver on Friday night in a rematch of the first round of this year's playoffs after the Nuggets handed the Warriors their lone preseason defeat last Friday.
117-126 Philadelphia 76ers Celtics of Boston
A scandal off the court cast a pall over the Boston Celtics as the season began.
On the court, they began the regular season looking like a team that could still contend for a championship.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 35 points as the Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 126-117 in the NBA's season opener on Tuesday night.
The 76ers defeated the Celtics 117-126.
On a night when the team honored the legacy of Bill Russell, Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points and Grant Williams finished with 15 as the defending Eastern Conference champions gave interim coach Joe Mazzulla a victory in his debut.
"It was just one of a kind," Brown said. "It feels a little better knowing who we were playing for and for what."
Mazzulla has taken over as team captain after Ime Udoka was suspended for the season following an investigation by a law firm that discovered he violated multiple team policies.
Mazzulla successfully led a Celtics team that resembled the one that made an unexpected run to the NBA Finals the previous season.
"It was an honor," Mazzulla said. "I believe we picked up right where we left off with the 'Let's Go Celtics!' chant at the end of the game. You're doing something right if they're cheering for you."
Boston took a 110-97 lead with eight minutes remaining and never trailed again.
James Harden scored 35 points, his most since joining the 76ers last season, making 12 of 12 free throws. He also made five three-point attempts.
"We gave them 20 points or more in transition," Harden explained. "Right there, that's the game."
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Joel Embiid chipped in with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Tyrese Maxey finished with a total of 21 points.
Mazzulla has vowed to maintain the culture that Udoka established on the court as a rookie head coach last season.
He insists that it will be done primarily on defense, but the offense was the story for the Celtics on Tuesday, as they shot 56% from the field.
With big man Robert Williams out due to offseason knee surgery, the Celtics stuck with the same starting lineup they used in the preseason, starting defensive stalwart Derrick White alongside Marcus Smart, Tatum, Brown, and Al Horford.
The smaller group sped up Philadelphia at times, forcing the 76ers into 14 turnovers for the game, which led to 22 points for Boston.
With Harden entering his first full season in Philadelphia after being traded for Ben Simmons late last season in a trade with Brooklyn, the 76ers are looking to compete with the top teams in the East.
Harden appeared revitalized after a season marred by hamstring injuries that limited his effectiveness in a shortened 21 regular-season games with the Sixers last season.
The 10-time All-Star irritated the Celtics by displaying the mobility that he lacked a year ago. He was frequently able to get to the free throw line. He also made four three-pointers in the first half, including a rainbow heave from the top of the key to beat the shot clock late in the second quarter.
Despite the Sixers' defeat, it appears that the old James Harden is back, which is a blessing.
They will host Milwaukee on Thursday, while the Celtics will begin a three-game road trip in Miami on Friday.
Bill Russell is being honored.
The Celtics held the first of two planned ceremonies this season to honor Bill Russell, who died on July 31 at the age of 88.
There were video tributes that highlighted some of Russell's most memorable moments both on and off the court.
On its special edition jerseys, the team also wore No. 6 patches. The uniforms featured 11 gold diamonds down the sides to represent the 11 championships Russell helped Boston win during his career.
During a timeout in the third quarter, his widow, Jeannine Russell, sat courtside and tearfully acknowledged a standing ovation from fans.