Monday, April 15 2024
Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball

Luka Doncic starred as the Dallas Mavericks spoiled Victor Wembanyama’s highly anticipated NBA debut in a 126-119 win at the San Antonio Spurs.

Slovenian Doncic led the Mavericks to a season-opening victory with the 57th triple-double of his career, scoring 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.

French teenager Wembanyama, measuring 7ft 4in tall, was the league’s top draft pick this year.

The 19-year-old scored 15 points in his 23 minutes on court.

“It was a lot of emotion. It would have been perfect to win,” said Wembanyama, who is regarded as one of the game’s biggest prospects.

“Tonight really marks the beginning. It’s still a dream, I hope to keep that dream feeling.

“This in itself is not exceptional. But I hope what I do next will make it special.”

The Mavericks had trailed by 12 points during the second quarter but held on after entering the fourth with a 96-91 advantage.

Cleared to play following a left calf strain, Doncic’s latest career triple-double strengthens his hold on 10th place on the all-time list in that category, with his total ranking as the fifth highest among active players.

Elsewhere, Latvian Kristaps Porzingis shone on his Boston Celtics debut, scoring 30 points – the highest-scoring debut in Celtics history – including a tiebreaking three-pointer in a 108-104 win over one of his former teams in the New York Knicks.

Paul George scored 27 points and Kawhi Leonard added 23 as hosts the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 123-111.

PJ Washington led the Charlotte Hornets with 25 points, and Terry Rozier added 24, in a 116-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Bruce Brown recorded a career-high six three-pointers in a 24-point haul for the Indiana Pacers in a 143-120 victory over the Washington Wizards, for whom forward Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points in his first game since agreeing a four-year, $90m (£74.5m) contract.

In New York, Donovan Mitchell made a three-pointer with 12.1 seconds remaining as the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Brooklyn Nets 114-113.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander inspired the Oklahoma Thunder to a 124-104 win at the Chicago Bulls, recording 31 points and 10 assists for the visitors.

There was victory too for the Sacramento Kings away at the Utah Jazz, with Harrison Barnes scoring 33 points in a 130-114 win in Salt Lake City.

The Orlando Magic made a winning start at home as Cole Anthony and Gary Harris combined for 31 points off the bench to seal a 116-86 win over the Houston Rockets.

The Miami Heat survived a late scare, nearly losing a 19-point lead, as the hosts held out for a narrow 103-102 victory against the Detroit Pistons.

Bam Adebayo led with 22 points for Miami, who had taken a 94-75 in the fourth quarter – but Detroit, led by Cade Cunningham‘s 30 points, threatened a late comeback.

Dennis Schroder scored 22 points on his Toronto Raptors debut as the hosts battled back in the final quarter to edge the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-94.

The New Orleans Pelicans opened with a 111-104 win at the Memphis Grizzlies, as CJ McCollum scored 24 points and Zion Williamson added 23 for the visitors.

Desmond Bane scored a game-high 31 points for the Grizzlies, who were without the suspended Ja Morant, banned for 25 games without pay for “conduct detrimental to the NBA”.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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