National Basketball Association Game Capsules
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Rasheed Wallace poured in 24 points,
including 18 in the second half, leading the defending champion Detroit
Pistons to an 87-79 victory over the Houston Rockets in the regular season
opener for both teams. Chauncey Billups collected 17 points, seven rebounds
and five assists for the Pistons, who were undoubtedly juiced up at the
start after receiving their championship rings and seeing their first
championship banner since 1990 raised to the Palace rafters. Ben Wallace
added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory while also holding Houston
center Yao Ming in check. Richard Hamilton also had 15 points and dished
out eight assists. Tracy McGrady did not shoot well in his Houston debut,
going 6-of-18 for a team-high 18 points. Yao scored only seven points to go
with 10 boards while Charlie Ward posted 13 points for the new look Rockets,
who obtained McGrady in a blockbuster trade for Steve Francis and Cuttino
Mobley in the offseason.
Final Score: Dallas 107, Sacramento 98
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki played all but five minutes and
finished with a game-high 33 points along with 10 rebounds to lead Dallas over
Sacramento, 107-98, at American Airlines Center in the season-opener for both
clubs. Michael Finley added 18 points and six boards for the Mavericks, who
avenged a first-round loss in last season’s playoffs to the Kings. The
Kings and Mavericks have met in the playoffs the last three years.
Last season Sacramento knocked out the Mavs in five games in the first round.
Dallas eliminated the Kings in seven games in the 2003 Western
Conference Semifinals, while Sacramento dismissed the Mavericks in five games
in the 2002 semis. Dallas has won five of its last six season-openers and
six straight home-openers. Brad Miller netted 24 points and grabbed six
rebounds for the Kings, who took the court for the first time since losing
to the Timberwolves in the Western Conference semifinals last season.
Sacramento, which fell for the first time in a season-opener in six years,
also received 21 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Webber.
Final Score: LA Lakers 89, Denver 78
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant posted 25 points and seven
assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers began life without Shaquille O’Neal with
an 89-78 victory over the Denver Nuggets in the season opener for both teams
at the Staples Center. Both O’Neal and former head coach Phil Jackson are
no longer with LA, which fell in five games to the Detroit Pistons in the
NBA Finals last season. The Lakers and Jackson mutually agreed to part ways
and O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for forwards Lamar Odom, Brian Grant,
Caron Butler and a first-round draft pick. Rudy Tomjanovich, who won two
championships as the head coach in Houston, was hired to replace Jackson.
Newcomer Chris Mihm poured in a career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds in the
victory. Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who made the
playoffs for the first time since 1995 last season and picked up All-Star
forward Kenyon Martin in an offseason trade with the Nets. In his debut,
Martin tallied 13 points with seven rebounds and five assists.