Evan Fournier scored a career-high 32 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 56.1 seconds left in the second overtime Wednesday night for the host New York Knicks, who squandered an 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter before edging the Boston Celtics 138-134 in an entertaining season opener for both teams.
Fournier, who spent last season with the Celtics, scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and both overtimes as he became the first player in Knicks history to score 30 points in his debut for the team.
Jaylen Brown, who was activated from the COVID-19 list prior to the game, scored a career-high 46 points for the Celtics. That was the highest total by a player in a season opener in franchise history and one point shy of Larry Bird’s record for the most points scored by a Boston player against New York.
Hornets 123, Pacers 122
LaMelo Ball scored 31 points and P.J. Washington sank two free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining to lift host Charlotte past Indiana.
Torrey Craig drained a pair of free throws to give the Pacers a 122-121 lead with 12.4 seconds left. Craig’s foul at the other end of the floor set the stage for Washington, who sank his two shots from the charity stripe.
Gordon Hayward scored 27 points for Charlotte, which was facing Indiana for the first time since dropping a 144-117 decision in a play-in tournament game on May 18.
76ers 117, Pelicans 97
Joel Embiid scored 22 points and Tobias Harris had a double-double as visiting Philadelphia pulled away from New Orleans in the season opener for a pair of short-handed teams.
Harris had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Furkan Korkmaz scored 18 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Sixers outscored the Pelicans 36-27 in the final period. Sixers guard Ben Simmons was serving a one-game suspension imposed by coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday for conduct detrimental to the team.
Brandon Ingram scored 25 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 23 and Devonte’ Graham added 18 for New Orleans. Pelicans forward Zion Williamson missed the game and is sidelined indefinitely because of offseason foot surgery.
Grizzlies 132, Cavaliers 121
Ja Morant poured in a game-high 37 points, including two huge hoops after Cleveland closed the gap late, as host Memphis spoiled the NBA debut of Evan Mobley with a victory in both teams’ opener.
Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton had 22 and 20 points, respectively, while Steven Adams snatched a game-high 14 rebounds in his Grizzlies debut.
Mobley, the No. 3 pick in the July draft, had 17 points, a team-high-tying nine rebounds and six assists for the Cavaliers, who lost despite shooting 50.5 percent from the field.
Nuggets 110, Suns 98
Visiting Denver used one of Phoenix’s primary weapons to good effect, riding balanced scoring to a victory over the defending Western Conference champions on Opening Night.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic scored 27 points to lead six players in double figures for the Nuggets, who were swept by the Suns in the Western Conference semifinals last year.
Chris Paul had 15 points and a game-high 10 assists for the Suns, who were outshot 53 percent to 41.4 percent.
Jazz 107, Thunder 86
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points, Jordan Clarkson added 18 off the bench and Rudy Gobert compiled 21 rebounds and 16 points to lead Utah past Oklahoma City in Salt Lake City.
Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz’s leading scorer last year, struggled from the field while scoring 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting in the teams’ season-opening game.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander paced the Thunder with 18 points. Oklahoma City only held a lead for 10 seconds, and that was during the first minute of the game.
Wizards 98, Raptors 83
Bradley Beal scored 23 points and visiting Washington defeated Toronto in the season opener for both teams.
Montrezl Harrell added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Wizards, who led by as many as 29 points during the third quarter. Spencer Dinwiddie added 13 points for Washington, and Kyle Kuzma had 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes each had 12 points while OG Anunoby had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who played their first game in Toronto since Feb. 28, 2020. The Raptors played all home games last season in Tampa because of COVID-19 restrictions in Canada.
Bulls 94, Pistons 88
Zach LaVine had 34 points, seven rebounds and four assists and visiting Chicago opened its season with a victory over Detroit.
Chicago has defeated its Central Division rival eight consecutive times. DeMar DeRozan, making his franchise debut after being acquired in a sign-and-trade from San Antonio, supplied 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Nikola Vucevic added 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Lonzo Ball chipped in 12 points and four assists in his Chicago debut. Jerami Grant topped the Pistons with 24 points.
Timberwolves 124, Rockets 106
Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell fueled an explosive season debut for Minnesota, which rolled over visiting Houston in Minneapolis.
Towns paired 30 points (on 11-of-15 shooting) with 10 rebounds while Edwards chipped in 29 points while hitting six 3-pointers. Russell finished with 22 points and seven assists as Minnesota grabbed a first-quarter lead and never looked back, leading by as many as 35.
Christian Wood had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets, who received a combined 20 points on 8-for-26 shooting from their youthful backcourt duo of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green, the second overall pick of the 2021 draft.
Kings 124, Trail Blazers 121
Harrison Barnes established career highs of 36 points and eight 3-pointers and also collected nine rebounds to lead Sacramento to a victory at Portland in the season opener for both teams.
De’Aaron Fox added 27 points and eight assists and Richaun Holmes (9-for-10 from the field) had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Buddy Hield scored 17 points and made four 3-pointers to tie the franchise career mark of 1,070 set by Peja Stojakovic (1998-2006).
CJ McCollum made six 3-pointers while scoring 34 points to pace the Trail Blazers. Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Damian Lillard recorded 20 points and 11 rebounds but missed a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
Spurs 123, Magic 97
Devin Vassell poured in 19 points off the bench, including eight during a third-quarter spurt that cemented the game, as San Antonio dominated visiting Orlando in the season opener for both teams.
Lonnie Walker IV added 17 points for the Spurs, also off the bench. Derrick White hit for 16 and Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray scored 15 points each.
Mo Bamba led the Magic with 18 points, and Terrence Ross scored 15 off the bench for the Magic.