OKLAHOMA -- New additions Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined forces with MVP Russell
Westbrook to score a combined 71 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder crushed Anthony’s former New York
Knicks team 105-84 in their NBA season opener on Thursday.
“We all play for one another,” said George. “Nobody cares who scores. We are going to enjoy
one another and that is what it is all about.”
Westbrook tallied a triple-double with 21 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds.
George finished with 28 points while Anthony delivered 22.
Anthony was the last piece added to the retooled Thunder roster.
Anthony was the face of his former team but managed to win just one playoff series during his
seven seasons with the Knicks.
“It is all good,” he said after Thursday’s win. “The most important thing was to get out here
and start a new journey. This is a new chapter.”
Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 31 points and 12 rebounds. He almost singlehandedly kept
the Knicks in the game well into the second quarter, tying the game at 40 with four minutes to play
before the break.
The only other New York player to score in double digits was Enes Kanter, who had 10 points.
Tim Hardaway Jr., who the Knicks signed to a four-year, $71 million deal in July, scored just
eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in his debut.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Clippers continued their domination of the Los Angeles Lakers,
108-92 and spoiled the NBA debut of second-overall pick Lonzo Ball.
Blake Griffin had 29 points and 12 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan tallied 14 points and 24
rebounds to lead the Clippers in the season opener for both teams.
The highly-touted Ball shot one-of-six from the floor and finished with just three points in
front of a crowd of 19,000 at Staples Center arena.
Ball missed his first three field-goal attempts and both free throws before making his only
basket, a three-pointer, with 4:49 left in the first half.
Ball didn’t collect his first assist until teammate Brook Lopez converted a jumper with 1:29
remaining in the opening half.
Clippers Patrick Beverley had the job of guarding Ball and said he wanted to “welcome his
little young ass to the NBA.”
Lopez led the Lakers with 20 points, Jordan Clarkson scored 18 off the bench.
In Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, C.J. Miles came off the
bench to score 22 points and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Chicago Bulls 117-100 in the opening game
of the season for each team.
Meanwhile, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season following
surgery to repair severe left leg injuries, his agent told ESPN.
Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night in Boston to repair a fractured left tibia and
dislocated left ankle, injuries he suffered after barely five minutes on the court in Tuesday’s
season-opening 102-99 loss at Cleveland.
Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN and the Herald that the former Utah Jazz star --
who signed a four-year deal worth $128 million to join the Celtics this season -- is unlikely to play
again before next season.
While there is no timetable set for Hayward’s return, Bartelstein was asked if a return this
season was unrealistic and told the Herald: “I think so.”
“But that’s not what we’re looking at right now. There’s no timetable. It’s a long process. He
feels great that the surgery was successful.”
He said the break was clean, meaning there was little other damage to Hayward’s leg, and “we
expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form”.
The Celtics fell to 0-2 with a 108-100 home loss Wednesday to Milwaukee. A video message from
Hayward in his hospital bed was played to the crowd before the game.
“I’m going to be all right,” Hayward said.
“It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more than just to be
with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. I’ll be supporting you guys from here.”