— The home opener in Barclays was a successful one as the Brooklyn Nets-Celtics held off Miami just long enough for a 101-100 victory sending the Heat to a 1-2 record. Two things about the game, but more so moving forward. One, Miami’s biggest battle this year will be with complacency (this was their third consecutive slow start). And two, Paul Pierce with monitored minutes in Brooklyn – which couldn’t happen last year after Rondo’s injury – is a godsend for the Nets. For all the buddy-buddy camaraderie exhibited in the league today, it’s not coming from or extended to Miami in their conference. No one likes them out East, specifically the new-look Nets-Celtics.
— As for the actual Celtics, their home opener wasn’t exactly as welcoming as they lost 105-98 to the Bucks. Weirdly enough, it wasn’t Milwaukee’s starters who got the job done. Their bench – consisting of John Henson, Zaza Pachulia, Khris Middleton and Nate Wolters – combined for 61 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals. Not for nothing, Boston’s center Vitor Faverani isn’t exactly the second coming of Kevin Garnett or Bill Russell, but he looked decent the few times I saw him in preseason. Even in a loss, a 12-point, 18-rebound and six-block night isn’t shabby at all.
— Michael Jordan said the Bobcats aren’t tanking, and dammit if they didn’t come right out the gate with a 90-84 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers (in the much ballyhooed first meeting between Tyler and Cody Zeller). It’s only two games, but Kemba Walker is shooting 54% on the season after an 8-14 night that saw him outplay Kyrie Irving and finish with 23 points, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.
— Chris Paul followed 42-15-6 versus the Warriors with 26-10-4 against the Kings. Blake Griffin nearly had a perfect vision game (20-20) riding shotgun with CP3 with 20 points, 17 rebounds and six assists as the Clippers beat Sacramento 110-101. Isaiah Thomas’ 29 points off the bench led Sacramento as Boogie Cousins amassed 24 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Feel free to hop on my #GetBoogieCousinsToTheAllStarGame bandwagon now. Plenty of seats remain available.
— The Clippers’ Staples Center BFF’s, the Lakers, fell to the Spurs 91-85. The game was competitive, but forget that for a moment. Want to see the last box score of a game between these two teams that didn’t feature Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan on the roster? Of course you do. It was April 18, 1996.
— The Pierre The Pelican era is off to a bad start. New Orleans fell to 0-2 last night after a 110-90 loss to Aaron Afflalo – and his 30 points – and the Orlando Magic of all teams. If there is a silver lining, Anthony Davis fantasy owners ate like kings following his 26-17-3 blocks line. And by a show of hands, who knew Jason Maxiell was Orlando’s starting power forward?
— BREAK UP THE SIXERS! Philly’s on pace to shatter the 1996 Bulls’ 72-10 record after upending the Wizards in Washington 109-102. If Thaddeus Young continues post 29-point, eight-rebound nights, then he’s right. Philly will ship him out of town and he could be one of the more sought after pieces near the trade deadline.
— Al Horford had 22 points and 16 rebounds in a 102-95 win over Toronto. Unfortunately, Drake’s “Would You Like A Tour” was not in Atlanta last night so he couldn’t kill two birds with one lullaby by sitting court side and then a mad dash to Magic City afterwards to let off some steam following the loss.
— Let’s post Al Horford’s little brother again because Al Horford’s little brother is an Internet .gif icon.
— Dwight Howard and Omer Asik had 28 rebounds between the two of them. Meanwhile, James Harden led the charge offensively going for 34 points and Houston improved to 2-0 beating in-state foe Dallas 113-105 behind 51 free throw attempts. In “you-don’t-see-this-often news,” Dirk fouled out. All because the transition defense of Dallas left a lot to be desired allowing The Big Volkswagen to pick up his fifth and sixth fouls as Harden barreled towards him on fast break. Dirk’s hard-hitting analysis? “I guess I just need to get out of his way.”
— Man, listen. Josh Smith had a Josh Smith-like stat line via 19-8-5-3-3 against the Grizzlies. But Maurice Cheeks could not have given him the green light for 11 three-point attempts (only making three). Granted, it’s not like he’s got much space to work with in the post starting alongside Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but there has to be some sort of middle ground. The Pistons fell 111-108 to Memphis.
— Much attention has been paid to Derrick Rose’s return, and rightfully so. But you know who it’s great to see playing at a high level once again? Kevin Love. Following a 31-17 season opener which saw him hit a three at the buzzer to force overtime against Orlando on Wednesday, he followed it up with 24 and 12 as Minnesota improved to 2-0 with a 100-81 victory over Oklahoma City. The loss was OKC’s most lopsided defeat since February 2011 and Kevin Durant struggled going 4-11 from the field only mustering 13 points. The value and approval rate of Russell Westbrook is the exact opposite of Congress at this point.
— The four-headed monster of Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews spearheaded Portland’s 113-98 road win over Denver (33-66 FG, 85 points, 30 rebounds and 17 assists). A bright spot for the Nuggets – because Denver needed one after we all thought Rocky the mascot scared everyone within an inch of their lives – at least Nate Robinson provided 24 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
— Eric Bledsoe was 3-14 from the field against the Jazz. Phoenix was well on their way to its first loss of a perceived plethora to come this season. But you know what happened? Bledsoe stepped into a shot with the game on the line and deposited three into the bank helping Phoenix remain undefeated beating Utah 87-84 (ok, it’s 2-0, but let them live in the moment). Speaking of struggling from the field, my guy Gordon Hayward nearly notched a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assist despite 6-17 shooting. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter also brought down double-doubles (14-17 and 20-12, respectively) in a losing effort.