The Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers are eyeing the NBA play-offs, but they were downed in their openers on Wednesday.
With the addition of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague, the Timberwolves are confident they can make the play-offs. The Sixers are thinking the same way with Ben Simmons back in the fold, and the New Orleans Pelicans are primed to dominate the paint with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
As good as those additions may make those teams, they did not help them beat the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards or Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, several teams that made additions this offseason like the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Charlotte Hornets, all lost.
It goes to show that tanking for great draft picks (Sixers), or making the big free-agency splash (Timberwolves, Pelicans), does not mean instant success for a team.
The play-off veterans showed who was boss as the Spurs dropped the Timberwolves 107-99, the Utah Jazz defeated the Nuggets 106-96, the Grizzlies beat the Pelicans 103-91, and the Wizards beat the Sixers 120-115.
John Wall had 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds including a highlight-reel dunk in the Wizards' win.
"It's just wolf season,” Wall told reporters after the game. "I put a lot of hard work and dedication into this summer. Just being healthy and able to work but without my team-mates, those guys making shots and playing defense and setting screens for me, I wouldn't be able to be the player I am."
WHITESIDE, ANTETOKOUNMPO SHINE
Heat center Hassan Whiteside is one of the best big men in the game and he got off to a roaring start to his season with 26 points and 22 rebounds in a loss to the Magic.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did not miss a beat in his first game of the season as he scored 37 points and added 13 rebounds in the Bucks' 108-100 win over the Celtics.
Monster game from Giannis in his 1st game of the season.— NBA (@NBA) October 19, 2017
37 PTS & 13 REBS! pic.twitter.com/0OCsjxV5x9
D'Angelo Russell scored 30 points while adding five assists and three rebounds in the Nets' 140-131 loss to the Pacers. The 30 points tied Nate Archibald's record (1976) for the most in a Nets debut.
The Suns shot just 31.5 per cent from the floor in an ugly 124-76 loss to the Trail Blazers. Eric Bledsoe registered a minus-41 as Phoenix set a new record for largest loss in a season opener (48 points).
Stanley Johnson was also historically bad in the Pistons' 102-90 win over the Hornets. He finished with two points on 0-for-13 shooting. According to ESPN , it is the worst opening-night shooting performance in the shot-clock era.
WALL, TOWNS PROVIDE HIGHLIGHTS
John Wall threw one down with the left hand in the first half of the Wizards' 120-115 win over the Sixers.
Karl-Anthony Towns also had a nice dunk against the Spurs.
A Towns throw down.— NBA (@NBA) October 19, 2017
: ESPN pic.twitter.com/otLwwnlAZg
Detroit Pistons 102-90 Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Pacers 140-131 Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic 116-109 Miami Heat
Washington Wizards 120-115 Philadelphia 76ers
Milwaukee Bucks 108-100 Boston Celtics
Memphis Grizzlies 103-91 New Orleans Pelicans
Atlanta Hawks 117-111 Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz 106-96 Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs 107-99 Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers 124-76 Phoenix Suns
Houston Rockets 105-100 Sacramento Kings
KNICKS AT THUNDER
This will be the first chance to see Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony on the court at the same time in the same uniform as the new-look Thunder take on the Knicks in their season opener. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott also make their return to Oklahoma City after they were traded to New York for Anthony in the offseason.
|Suns star Booker set to return for season opener|
|Warriors coach Kerr not expecting fast start from NBA champs|
|Fultz to start for 76ers as Brown eyes NBA Finals|
|Maltese champions Valletta want Usain Bolt|
|It would have been normal to kill them! Luis Enrique slams abysmal Spain|
|Seahawks, Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen dies aged 65|
|Red Sox ace Sale released from hospital, still set for game five|
|Beer-throwing fan banned by Patriots|
|Southgate lauds ´tremendous´ attackers after famous Spain win|
|Djokovic closing in on summit as he scales new heights|
|Monaco the natural move for Henry - Martinez|
|Ending England drought a ´beautiful feeling´ – Sterling|
|Halep to face Pavlyuchenkova in Moscow comeback|
|NBA 2018-19: Five non-LeBron James storylines to follow|
|Spain 2 England 3: Kane inspires Three Lions as Sterling ends drought in style|
|Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 Northern Ireland 0: Dzeko double leaves O´Neill´s side on the brink|
|Mannarino stops the rot in Moscow|
|Neymar pleased Brazil will not face Messi in Argentina clash|
|Buccaneers fire defensive coordinator Mike Smith after loss to Falcons|
|´Surprised´ Deschamps accepts he could´ve made more effort with Koscielny|
|Kuwait 0 Australia 4: Socceroos deliver win for new coach Arnold|
|Van Dijk fit for Liverpool return - Koeman|
|NBA 2018-19: Eastern Conference predictions|
|NBA 2018-19: Five rookies to watch|
|Denly replaces injured Dawson in England ODI squad|
|Low confirms under-fire Neuer to start against France|
|NBA 2018-19: Western Conference predictions|
|Bolt offered two-year deal by European club, says agent|
|NBA 2018-19: LeBron the Laker - what it means|
|Griezmann ahead of Mbappe for Ballon d´Or - Modric|
|Billy Vunipola ruled out with fractured arm|
|Get the chequebook out! - Mayweather talks up potential Khabib clash|
|Amla ruled out of Australia tour|
|Class act Hamilton more complete than ever - Wolff|
|NBA 2018-19: It´s a big season for - Ball, Kawhi, Carmelo, Love & Cousins|
|Bellew: I have no fear of Usyk|
|Birthday boy Ozil is the most creative player in Europe|
|CSA reveals De Villiers and Rabada involved in Mzansi Super League|
|FA condemns England supporters involved in trouble in Seville|
|Gascoigne hits back over Scottish Hall of Fame snub|
|NBA 2018-19: LeBron closing in on Jordan, Curry chasing Miller and Allen|
|Ter Stegen should start ahead of Neuer for Germany – Matthaus|
|England´s Sterling impressed by Sancho´s work ethic|
|Vandoorne seals switch to Formula E|
|Halep to end 2018 as world number one|
|Sri Lanka´s Jayasuriya charged by ICC with breaching anti-corruption code|
|Vermaelen out for six weeks with hamstring injury|
|LeBron and Irving did not fall out, says ex-Cavs trainer|
|Ramsey out of Wales´ clash with Republic of Ireland|
|Bolt angry with drugs test|
|Bad luck is not a coincidence – Kimmich concerned by Germany form|
|Mahomes: Chiefs need to win like Brady and the Patriots|
|Schuster warns Real Madrid not to panic-buy striker in January|
|We´re here to win! - Paine not happy celebrating a draw|
|Injured Thauvin out of Germany clash|
|Southgate hits out at early Premier League start|
|Modric to Inter talk is ´fantasy´, says Guardiola|
|Pats hand first loss to Chiefs after wild shoot-out|
|Cowboys, Ravens dominate as Pats beat Chiefs in NFL classic|
|Brady becomes first QB to 200 regular-season wins in NFL|
|Red Sox level series against Astros|
|Mbappe leaves red-faced Dembele on his backside|
|Red Sox ace Sale admitted to hospital with stomach illness|
|From UFC to NFL? McGregor throws pass for Cowboys|
|Ancelotti praises ´dangerous´ Mbappe|
|Uncapped Papalii named in All Blacks squad|
|Kane would star in LaLiga – Ramos|
|Guardiola unsure about Man City´s Champions League chances|
|Dzeko: Premier League return? You never know|
|Gurley dominates to help Rams beat Broncos|