The Golden State Warriors have begun their title defense in fine fashion, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 123-109 at home on the opening night of the NBA season.
With the Warriors receiving their championship rings in a ceremony before the game, they were determined to make it a night to remember, with reigning Finals MVP Stephen Curry leading the way.
Curry finished with 33 points on 10-of-22 shooting, hitting four-of-13 from long range and all nine of his free throws to lead both teams in scoring. He also chipped in seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Jordan Poole had 10 of his 12 points in the first half to lead the Warriors to a 59-52 halftime lead, before Klay Thompson took over to begin the third quarter, scoring his side’s first seven points on three consecutive shots to ignite a 32-19 frame, blowing the game open in the process.
The Warriors’ lead peaked at 91-64 late in the third quarter, before the visiting Lakers scored 38 in the fourth to trim the final score to a respectable figure.
In his 20th season, LeBron James looked as strong as ever, finishing with 31 points (12-of-25 shooting) with 14 rebounds and eight assists, while Anthony Davis had 27 points (10-of-22 shooting) with six rebounds, four steals and two blocks, although Davis posted the worst plus/minus of the game at minus 21.
What. A. SHOW 🍿 pic.twitter.com/728p4JhgXM
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 19, 2022
Tatum, Brown combine for 70 in Celtics win
In what was officially the first game of the season, the Boston Celtics and interim head coach Joe Mazzulla collected an impressive 126-117 home win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics had to compete with a spectacular James Harden performance, who led the 76ers with 35 points on nine-of-14 shooting, including five-of-nine from long range and 12-of-12 from the free throw line, while adding eight rebounds and seven assists.
Harden had a plus/minus of plus one in his 37 minutes, meaning the 76ers were outscored by 10 in the 11 minutes he was on the bench.
For Boston, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were almost unstoppable all night, scoring 35 points each at a combined 61 per cent from the field (27-of-44), while Tatum also grabbed 12 rebounds and Brown had two steals.