Talen Horton-Tucker starred for the Los Angeles Lakers who defeated their arch-rival Los Angeles Clippers, while an eagerly-anticipated Brooklyn Nets debut took center stage as the NBA preseason got underway over the weekend.
Ahead of the league’s official return on 22nd December, Saturday and Sunday saw 26 teams in action.
Talen Horton-Tucker who only just turned 20 in November put up a game-high 33 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in Sunday night’s 131-106 win over the Clippers, a reminder of the Lakers’ firepower off the bench.
Kyle Kuzma added another 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while former Clipper Montrezl Harrell had 19 points 11 rebounds, and three assists in the absence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Friday’s 87-81 win over the champions’ LA rivals was also led by the new breed Horton-Tucker who led his side with 19 points, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year Harrell meanwhile providing 13 points, 12 rebounds and two assists in his first game since signing for the Lakers.
Kawhi Leonard played a combined 32 minutes across both games, registering 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in total.
Kevin Durant made his debut for the Nets
Kevin Durant finally featured for the Brooklyn Nets who beat the Washington Wizards 119-114, with the former Golden State Warrior finishing with 15 points in his first game back in 552 days.
His team-mate Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 18 points in 18 first-half minutes.
Russell Westbrook has yet to feature for the Washington Wizards, who recently acquired the nine-time All-Star from the Houston Rockets in exchange for John Wall.
Around the NBA
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks’ 112-102 who lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, while Ja Morant logged 20 to help the Memphis Grizzlies to a 107-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Cedi Osman led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-104 win over the Indiana Pacers. He scored 23 points in the matchup.
Former Boston Celtic Gordon Hayward and No 3 pick LaMelo Ball made their debuts for the Charlotte Hornets in Saturday’s 111-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors, and the Oklahoma City Thunder began life without Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder with a 121-108 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Jordan Clarkson also scored 19 points in the Utah Jazz’s 119-105 win over the Phoenix Suns, while Nikola Jokic continued from where he left off in the postseason scoring 26 points but was not enough as the Denver Nuggets were beaten 107-105 by the Golden State Warriors, who were without Draymond Green and No 2 pick James Wiseman.