The NBA season is finally back!
The main attraction of the night were the defending champion Miami Heat going up against the Chicago Bulls. The Heat players received their rings before the game and during the game showed why they will be a force to be reckoned with again this season.
The Bulls jumped out to an early 15-10 lead before the Heat went on a 7-0 run to take the lead 17-15 going into the second quarter.
It wasn’t much of a match up in the second quarter as the Heat went on a 31-5 run which started in the first quarter. In that time span, the Bulls only scored one basket and the Heat had 17 unanswered points. At halftime, the Heat had a 54-33 lead. The Bulls shot 30% from the field and had 12 turnovers in the 1st half. The Heat shot 45% from the field and were 7-12 from 3-pt range.
In the 4th quarter, the Bulls tried to make a comeback by going on a 14-4 run which cut the lead to 87-72, then Kirk Heinrich hit a 3 to cut the lead to 12 at the 5:25 mark. The closest the Bulls got to the Heat was a 8 point deficit and big shots by Shane Battier, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh down the stretch helped seal the victory for the Heat, 107-95.
The Heat had seven players in double figures led by Lebron James’ 17 points. He also had 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Chris Bosh was the second leading scorer with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Shane Battier was the leading scorer off the bench with 14 points.
Derrick Rose coming off of a great preseason, didn’t have a good game and turned over the ball 5 times. He finished with 12 points and 4 assists. Carlos Boozer had a big game with 31 points and 7 rebounds and Jimmy Butler also contributed with 20 points and 5 steals.
In the other marquee match up, the battle of LA took place as the Kobe-less Lakers defeated their city rivals the LA Clippers.
The Lakers who were swept last season by the Clippers made sure that wouldn’t be the case again this season.
Both teams played a tightly contested game throughout the 1st half and the Clippers went into halftime with a 57-55 lead. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and J.J. Redick combined to score 36 of the Clippers’ 57 points and the Clippers shot 59% from the field.
The Clippers started the third quarter brightly by jumping out to a 8 point lead which was eventually cancelled out midway through the 3rd quarter by a Laker run. Steve Blake hit a 3 to propel the Lakers into the lead 66-65, capping off a 11-2 run. Clippers eventually retook the lead and ended the 3rd quarter with a 4 point lead, 79-75.
Coach Mike D’Antoni started the 4th quarter with the bench and the bench carried the Lake show the rest of the way to victory. The Lakers’ bench scored the final 48 points of the game for the Lakers and played the whole 4th quarter. Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar, and Jodie Meeks hit some big threes to help build the lead and hold off the Clippers. The Lakers bench outperformed the Clippers’ starters and showed more effort and hustle. Lakers won the game 116-103.
The Lakers’ bench had 5 players in double figures. Xavier Henry scored a career high 22 points and had 6 rebounds. Jordan Farmar also contributed off the bench with a huge 16 points and 6 assists. Pau Gasol led all starters with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Blake Griffin was the Clippers’ leading scorer with 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul had a double-doubles with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 15 points, 11 assists respectively. Jamal Crawford led all scorers off the bench with 15 points.
Also, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic 97-87. Paul George scored the first points of the NBA season and led the Pacers with 24 points and 6 rebounds. Andrew Nicholson led all Magic scorers with 18 points off the bench. The second overall pick in the NBA draft, Victor Oladipo, had a decent showing by scoring 12 points off the bench for the Magic.
Both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets open up the season on Wednesday. The Knicks will be facing the Milwaukee Bucks at MSG while the Nets travel to Cleveland to take on Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers.