Spurs win season opener

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DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 28 points in his San Antonio debut, and four of his teammates scored in double figures as the hosts Spurs held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-108 last night in one of 11 of the night’s NBA season openers.

DeRozan, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto, scored the final four points of the game after Minnesota rallied for a 108-108 tie on Jimmy Butler’s 3-pointer in the final minute.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and a game-high 19 rebounds for the Spurs, who also received 18 points from Rudy Gay.

DeMar DeRozan (right) made a successful debut for the Spurs last night against the Timberwolves.
DeMar DeRozan (right) made a successful debut for the Spurs last night against the Timberwolves.

Butler, who was away from the team for much of the preseason after requesting a trade, was in the starting lineup and scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 31 minutes. Jeff Teague led the Timberwolves with 27 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 20.

Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his Toronto Raptors debut in defeating visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 116-104.

Kyle Lowry had 27 points and eight assists for the Raptors. Fred VanVleet added 14 points, Pascal Siakam had 13 points and Danny Green chipped in with 11. Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 12 rebounds. Leonard and Green were acquired by Toronto from the Spurs in a July trade.

Kevin Love scored 21 points and added seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, and Cedi Osman had 17 points and 10 rebounds. George Hill and Jordan Clarkson each added 15 points, and Rodney Hood scored 12.

Anthony Davis had 32 points and 16 rebounds, and Elfrid Payton had a triple-double as retooled New Orleans Pelicans routed hosts Houston Rockets 131-112.

Payton, one of two key offseason acquisitions, had 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and the other key pick-up, forward Julius Randle, had 25 points off the bench. Nikola Mirotic added 30 points, including 6 of 8 3-pointers, and 10 rebounds, E’Twaun Moore scored 21 points and Jrue Holiday had 10.

Eric Gordon came off the bench to lead the Houston with 21 points, and PJ Tucker and Chris Paul had 19 points each. James Harden (18 points, 10 assists) fell a rebound shy of a triple-double. Carmelo Anthony finished with nine points off the bench in his Houston debut.

Giannis Antetokounmpo came within two assists of a triple-double as Milwaukee Bucks, in Mike Budenholzer’s first game as coach, held on to defeat hosts Charlotte Hornets 113-112, with James Borrego debuting as their coach.

Antetokounmpo, who finished with 25 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists, hit two free throws with 23.7 seconds remaining to give the Bucks the lead for good at 113-112. The Bucks then held on as Charlotte’s Kemba Walker missed a short jumper and Nicolas Batum missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Bucks led by as many as 20 on several occasions in the first half but had to come from behind in the final minute after Walker, who scored 41 points, rallied the Hornets. He hit two free throws with 36.3 seconds left for a 112-111 Charlotte lead.

Andre Drummond totaled 24 points, 20 rebounds and came up with a significant defensive play in the final seconds as Detroit Pistons held off visiting Brooklyn Nets 103-100 to make a winner of new coach Dwane Casey.

Drummond produced his 52nd career 20-20 game, but it was his defence that gave the Pistons a win in Casey’s debut with the team. With 15 seconds to play, the Pistons held a 101-100 lead and the Nets had a chance to go ahead, but Drummond forced a turnover.

After Drummond’s defensive stand, Reggie Jackson hit two free throws with 6.2 seconds left. The Nets’ Joe Harris missed a well-contested 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Blake Griffin secured the rebound. Griffin led the Pistons with 26 points while adding eight rebounds and six assists, while Brooklyn’s Caris LeVert led all scorers with 27.

Other scores: Knicks 126, Hawks 107; Pacers 111, Grizzlies 83; Magic 104, Heat 101; Jazz 123, Kings 117; Suns 121, Mavericks 100; Nuggets 107, Clippers 98.

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