The Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers are eyeing the NBA play-offs, but they were downed in their openers on Wednesday.
With the addition of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague, the Timberwolves are confident they can make the play-offs. The Sixers are thinking the same way with Ben Simmons back in the fold, and the New Orleans Pelicans are primed to dominate the paint with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
As good as those additions may make those teams, they did not help them beat the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards or Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, several teams that made additions this offseason like the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Charlotte Hornets, all lost.
It goes to show that tanking for great draft picks (Sixers), or making the big free-agency splash (Timberwolves, Pelicans), does not mean instant success for a team.
The play-off veterans showed who was boss as the Spurs dropped the Timberwolves 107-99, the Utah Jazz defeated the Nuggets 106-96, the Grizzlies beat the Pelicans 103-91, and the Wizards beat the Sixers 120-115.
John Wall had 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds including a highlight-reel dunk in the Wizards' win.
"It's just wolf season,” Wall told reporters after the game. "I put a lot of hard work and dedication into this summer. Just being healthy and able to work but without my team-mates, those guys making shots and playing defense and setting screens for me, I wouldn't be able to be the player I am."
WHITESIDE, ANTETOKOUNMPO SHINE
Heat center Hassan Whiteside is one of the best big men in the game and he got off to a roaring start to his season with 26 points and 22 rebounds in a loss to the Magic.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did not miss a beat in his first game of the season as he scored 37 points and added 13 rebounds in the Bucks' 108-100 win over the Celtics.
D'Angelo Russell scored 30 points while adding five assists and three rebounds in the Nets' 140-131 loss to the Pacers. The 30 points tied Nate Archibald's record (1976) for the most in a Nets debut.
The Suns shot just 31.5 per cent from the floor in an ugly 124-76 loss to the Trail Blazers. Eric Bledsoe registered a minus-41 as Phoenix set a new record for largest loss in a season opener (48 points).
Stanley Johnson was also historically bad in the Pistons' 102-90 win over the Hornets. He finished with two points on 0-for-13 shooting. According to ESPN , it is the worst opening-night shooting performance in the shot-clock era.
WALL, TOWNS PROVIDE HIGHLIGHTS
John Wall threw one down with the left hand in the first half of the Wizards' 120-115 win over the Sixers.
Karl-Anthony Towns also had a nice dunk against the Spurs.
Detroit Pistons 102-90 Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Pacers 140-131 Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic 116-109 Miami Heat
Washington Wizards 120-115 Philadelphia 76ers
Milwaukee Bucks 108-100 Boston Celtics
Memphis Grizzlies 103-91 New Orleans Pelicans
Atlanta Hawks 117-111 Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz 106-96 Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs 107-99 Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers 124-76 Phoenix Suns
Houston Rockets 105-100 Sacramento Kings
KNICKS AT THUNDER
This will be the first chance to see Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony on the court at the same time in the same uniform as the new-look Thunder take on the Knicks in their season opener. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott also make their return to Oklahoma City after they were traded to New York for Anthony in the offseason.