NBA Preseason Day 4: Superstars make debut for new teams as OKC and Rockets face-off
Houston Rockets 104-97 Oklahoma City Thunder
A clash between these two teams in the regular season is something that must be circled on the calendar. It has MVP candidates - James Harden and Russell Westbrook - and then all the old faces in new teams - Paul George, Carmelo Anthony (OKC) and Chris Paul for the Houston Rockets.
As is the norm, all superstars played limited minutes in this game but the Rockets made sure to squash any rumors regarding how Paul and Harden will share the ball. The duo accounted for 17 of the team's 22 assists (Harden - 10 and Paul - 7) while combining for 27 points. Houston is slated to next play the Shanghai Sharks on Oct. 5 (Oct. 6th IST) at the Toyota Center.
Although Westbrook didn't play and they lost the game, Anthony gave Thunder fans a good glimpse of what they could expect of him this season. He had 19 points and four rebounds on 7-of-13 shooting in 20 minutes of action. George, the other superstar making his debut for OKC, had 15 points in 26 minutes on 6-of-13 shooting.
OKC Thunder will next play the New Orleans Pelicans at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Oct. 6 (Oct. 7 IST).
Toronto Raptors 84-98 LA Clippers
The Clippers looked like the losers when they traded away Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets for a host of players back in June. However, after their two preseason games against the Toronto Raptors in Hawaii, opinions are changing. They look very exciting, to say the least, a huge reason for which is their European rookie point guard Milos Teodosic.
Although they split both games with the Raptors, the Clippers new playing style was very promising. Blake Griffin ensured they won game two, leading the team with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. After their short trip to Hawaii, the Clippers take more than a few days off, playing their next preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
For the Raptors, who rested All-Star Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan top-scored with 20 points in 18 minutes on 8-of-11 shooting. The Toronto franchise plays their next preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 5th.
Chicago Bulls 113-109 New Orleans Pelicans
In their limited minutes together, the frontcourt duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins looked dominant. Davis put up 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks while Cousins had 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals as the Pelicans raced to a 69-58 halftime lead over the hapless Chicago Bulls.
However, the young and superstar-less Bulls did complete an unlikely comeback late in the game. They had as many eight players in double figures led by 15 points from Cristiano Felicio. Jerian Grant had 11 points and 9 assists in 19 minutes as the starting point guard.
Brooklyn Nets 115-107 New York Knicks
D'Angelo Russell (BKN): 19 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 20 minutes
Kristaps Porzingis (NYK): 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
Phoenix Suns 114-112 Portland Trail Blazers
T.J. Warren (PHO): 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 23 minutes
Caleb Swanigan (POR): 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 minutes