Ben Simmons will be assessed on a day-by-day basis after a recurrence of a knee injury forced his early withdrawal from the Brooklyn Nets' victory over the Orlando Magic.

The point guard departed in the second quarter with soreness in his left knee and did not return, as his team went on to claim a 109-102 win at Barclays Center.

Simmons, who was traded to the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers in February this year, has already missed six games this term with the same problem.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn revealed it was the 26-year-old's request to exit the match, but believes there is nothing too serious to be concerned about with his injury.

"We'll check him day by day, see how he responds with a little treatment," he said. "[We will] see what it looks like [on Tuesday]."

"I think more so than anything, [it is] the accumulation of games. He hasn't had this amount of accumulation of games over a period [for] a long time.

"[We] talked to the performance team about that. We were warned about that just as these games [started] to add up.

"It's really stretching him sometimes. The amount of games we've just had, with the minutes that he's played, [have been] pretty high going into tonight's game."

Simmons' absence is a blow for the Nets, with the Australian having arguably found his best form of the campaign this month, with an average of 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists across November.

The Nets next welcome the Washington Wizards on November 30, before a clash with the Toronto Raptors on December 2.

Kevin Durant produced his best scoring performance of the season to carry the Brooklyn Nets to a 109-102 victory against the Orlando Magic on Monday.

In a remarkably efficient outing, Durant hit 19-of-24 from the field, three-of-five from deep and all four of his free throws for 45 points in 39 minutes. He added seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.

One of the greatest offensive players in league history, Durant has rediscovered his ability to protect the rim defensively this season, with his 1.8 blocks per game placing him eighth in the league while tying his career-high.

Durant was supported well by Kyrie Irving with 20 points on nine-of-17 shooting, but they had to see out the second half without Ben Simmons after the Australian left the game in the second quarter due to left knee soreness.

Starting center Nic Claxton picked up the slack with 17 points (seven-of-10 shooting), 13 rebounds and three blocks, while Joe Harris chipped in 17 points off the bench.

For Orlando, heavy favourite for Rookie of the Year and top overall pick from this year's draft Paolo Banchero continued to display his All-NBA upside, scoring an equal team-high 24 points on nine-of-17 shooting with five assists, four rebounds and two steals.

With the result, the Nets have now won five of their past seven games, and have pulled their record even at 11-11.

Siakam's return ignites Raptors

Pascal Siakam returned to the Toronto Raptors starting line-up and looked right at home with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a 100-88 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Siakam had missed the past 10 games due to a strained adductor, but mustered 30 minutes in his first game back.

O.G. Anunoby top scored for the Raptors with 20 points on eight-of-13 shooting, while in an interesting coaching decision, Nick Nurse opted to start Juancho Hernangomez and bring reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes off the bench.

After starting the season with Siakam as the biggest player in the Raptors' starting line-up, Nurse pivoted to a larger group in his return, with Gary Trent Jr also relegated to the bench in favour of Thaddeus Young.

'Point Zion' orchestrates Pelicans win

With C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram both missing through injuries, Zion Williamson assumed the role of lead initiator in the New Orleans Pelicans' 105-101 triumph against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Williamson, who largely operated as the lead ball-handler during the second half of his breakout 2020-21 campaign, dished a season-high eight assists to go with his 23 points (11-of-18 shooting) and eight rebounds.

He did it on both ends, as his three blocks nearly matched his total for the season, having only tallied a combined four from his first 14 games

Ben Simmons' recent resurgence was halted prematurely on Monday when he exited the Brooklyn Nets' 109-102 win over the Orlando Magic with left knee soreness.

The Nets confirmed the issue which Simmons exit in the second quarter, having only played 11 minutes with no points, four rebounds and three assists.

The six-foot-10 Australian has already missed six games this season with issues on the same knee, but has impressed in recent games since his return. He had also been coming back from offseason back surgery.

Simmons had been averaging 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists during the month of November.

The win means the Nets improve their record to 11-11, as Kevin Durant top scored with 45 points.

Zach LaVine conceded he had a poor night against the Orlando Magic but questioned the decision to leave him off the court in the closing stages as the Chicago Bulls lost 108-107 on Friday.

DeMar DeRozan top scored with 41 as the Bulls fought back in the second half after trailing by 14 at half-time, but the hosts ended up throwing away a four-point advantage with 20 seconds left.

Two-time All-Star LaVine had a night to forget, scoring four points from over 25 minutes on the court as he made just one from 14 field goal attempts, leading to him being left out in the last few minutes by coach Billy Donovan.

"I got to do a better job at the beginning of the game to make my shots, but you play a guy like me down the stretch," LaVine after the game. "That's what I do.

"Do I like the decision? No. Do I have to live with it? Yeah. Be ready to put my shoes on and play the next game.

"Just ask [Donovan] what his decision was, what made him think that way. 

"Obviously, he wanted to go with some other guys out there, I wasn't having the best night shooting, but it's a tough one."

Donovan also cut a frustrated figure after the home defeat, and insisted it was a specific call for the situation in-game.

"I feel like my job, my responsibility in those moments is to try to make the best decisions for the team," Donovan said. "And I thought that was the best decision at the time.

"To me, I don't look at it as anything else but the one-off game where this is what was going on. I know he wanted to be out there.

"There's probably not very many games in his career where [LaVine] hasn't been out there in those moments, but that group was playing well and it gave us a chance."

The Miami Heat only had seven available players on Friday, and eventually ran out of steam in a gutsy 107-106 road loss against the Washington Wizards despite a heroic performance from Kyle Lowry.

Miami's top two players, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, were both absent along with a cast of their teammates after a quick succession of injuries, forcing their available players into extended minutes.

Lowry played 46 of a possible 48 minutes in regulation, but a late Kyle Kuzma three-pointer tied the game at 104-104 with 15 seconds left, forcing overtime.

With four of their five starters reaching the 40-minute mark in overtime, fatigue caught up with the visitors as they failed to hit a single field goal in the extra period.

Their only two points came from two Lowry free throws, capping his 24-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound triple double in 51 minutes of play.

Kristaps Porzingis scored the only basket of overtime, giving him 20 points and 17 rebounds, while Bradley Beal top-scored for the Wizards with 27 on nine-of-18 shooting.

The win for the Wizards moves them to 9-7, while the Heat fall to 7-9 as they desperately await healthy reinforcements.

Suggs delivers dagger in Magic win

Second-year point guard Jalen Suggs is beginning to fulfill the potential that saw him as a top-five pick in the 2021 draft, hitting the game-winning three-pointer in a 108-107 win against the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls received polarizing performances from their two star wings, with Zach Lavine struggling mightily on his way to one-of-14 shooting, while DeMar DeRozan stepped up with 41 points on 16-of-30 shooting.

DeRozan's big game had the Bulls up 103-107 with under 30 seconds remaining, but two made free throws for Suggs were followed by two misses by Bulls center Nikola Vucevic, giving the Magic a chance to steal it.

Suggs was determined to be the one taking the last shot, stepping back confidently for a three-pointer and nailing it to finish with 20 points (seven-of-16 shooting) and eight assists. It is the first time this season Suggs has posted back-to-back 20-point games, and he has at least six assists and five rebounds in each.

Embiid finishes Maxey's strong start against the Bucks

The Philadelphia 76ers had a different star in each half of their 110-102 home win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tyrese Maxey was the focal point early, putting up 24 points on nine-of-12 shooting, with five assists and four rebounds, before rolling his ankle in the shadows of halftime.

He did not return after the break, and Joel Embiid stepped up in his absence, scoring a game-high 32 points (12-of-26 shooting) with 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. It is the third game in a row Embiid has had at least 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The Los Angeles Lakers slumped to their fourth straight double-digit defeat as LeBron James had a late injury scare in a 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

James, who played 32 minutes for 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists, was benched late with "left leg soreness" and did not return after wincing upon drawing a foul.

The Lakers loss was their fifth straight defeat when James has scored 30 points, while it was their ninth consecutive defeat to the Clippers, dating back to 2020. That streak is the second longest in series history.

Paul George fired for the Clippers, with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting along with six rebounds and two blocks, bringing up his sixth straight 25-point game which is the longest run in his time with the franchise. Norman Powell contributed 18 points off the bench.

Anthony Davis scored 21 points with nine rebounds but was shy on offense, while Russell Westbrook managed 14 points with nine assists in 30 minutes off the bench.

The Clippers, who are still without two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, have won five of their past six games and improved to 7-5, while the Lakers are 2-9.

Short-handed Bucks triumph in 2OT

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder in double overtime 136-132 without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday to improve their record to 10-1 and bounce back after their first loss of the season.

Antetokounmpo and Holiday sat out with a sore left knee and sprained right ankle respectively, but Jevon Carter stepped up with a career-high 36 points and 12 assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 39 points, drained a triple to give OKC a one-point lead with 0.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Bucks center Brook Lopez, who contributed 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, was fouled by Lu Dort on the inbound pass, but missed one of his two free-throws, sending the game to second overtime, where Milwaukee finished the job.

Jazz's surprise start, Doncic's run halted, KD shines

The Utah Jazz continued their surprise start to the season with a 125-119 win over the Atlanta Hawks, moving them to a Western Conference-leading 10-3 record.

The Jazz rallied after blowing a 12-point lead, piling on 40 fourth-quarter points with Lauri Markkanen scoring a season-high 32 points. Malik Beasley scored six three-pointers, including four in the fourth period, for 18 points for the game.

Luka Doncic was held to less than 30 points for the first time this season, scoring 24 points on nine-of-29 field shooting, as the Dallas Mavericks lost 94-87 to the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Durant had a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Brooklyn Nets blew out the New York Knicks 112-85 without the suspended Kyrie Irving.

Reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry enjoyed his best game of the new season as he put up 47 points in the Golden State Warriors' 116-113 home win against the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

After posting a season-high 39 points his last time out in a loss to the Orlando Magic, Curry went even bigger, hitting 17-of-24 from the field, seven-of-12 from deep and six of his seven free throws.

The former unanimous league MVP also added eight rebounds and eight assists, boasting a plus/minus of plus 20 in his 38 minutes. That means in the 10 minutes he was on the bench, the Warriors were outscored by 17.

With Klay Thompson having an off-shooting night (six-of-18 for 16 points), Andrew Wiggins stepped up as Curry's sidekick, chipping in 25 points (10-of-17 shooting) with 10 rebounds, two steals and a block.

With his seven three-pointers, Curry is now averaging a league-leading 5.1 made threes per game, is fifth in the league in scoring (31.0 points per game) and 15th in assists (6.8 per game).

For the Kings, point guard De'Aaron Fox continued his strong start to the campaign, scoring a team-high 28 points on eight-of-17 shooting to raise his season average to 26.3 (12th in the league).

Doncic extends 30-point streak in Mavs win

Luka Doncic has now scored at least 30 points in each of the Dallas Mavericks' first nine games after putting up 36 in his side's 96-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Doncic was incredibly efficient, particularly from long range, hitting 11-of-22 from the field and five-of-nine from long range. For the season, he is shooting a career-high 52.7 per cent from the field, and that is despite a career-worst three-point percentage of 26.2.

He now owns the second-longest streak in NBA history for consecutive 30-point games to start a season, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain's streak of 23 games to start the 1962-63 campaign.

Returning from a four-game absence due to swelling in his knee, Ben Simmons came off the bench for the first time in his 282-game career, scoring two points in 16 minutes.

A.J. Griffin highlights impressive rookie performances as he hands the Bucks their first loss

The Milwaukee Bucks suffered their first loss of the season as Atlanta Hawks rookie A.J. Griffin starred off the bench.

Griffin, the 16th overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, finished with a career-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, while snatching three steals in a strong 31-minute performance.

Meanwhile, Paolo Banchero's ridiculous start to his career continued as he had his second straight 30-point game in the Orlando Magic's 134-127 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Banchero continues to justify his selection as the top pick in the draft, hitting eight-of-16 from the field and 12-of-14 from the free throw line. He is averaging 22.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists in the first 10 games of his career.

Last year's second overall draft pick, Jalen Green, was terrific for the Rockets, scoring a game-high 34 points (12-of-18 from the field, five-of-11 from long range).

Stephen Curry's 39 points were not enough to prevent the Golden State Warriors from slumping to their fourth straight defeat as Jalen Suggs lifted the Orlando Magic to a 130-129 victory on Thursday.

The reigning champions, who led by 16 points at one stage, had gone into the final minute with scores tied but Suggs drained a three-pointer, followed by making a steal, sinking one of two free-throws to make it to a two-score game.

Suggs finished the game with 26 points with nine assists, while rookie Pablo Banchero contributed 22 points with eight rebounds.

Curry scored 39 points on eight-of-15 three-point shooting with nine assists for Golden State. Klay Thompson found form with seven triples in his 27-point haul.

The Magic scored 33-of-46 points from the free-throw line, compared to Golden State's 10-of-15.

The result means the Warriors fall to 3-6, having lost three of their past four games to sides who missed last year's playoffs. Golden State are also 0-5 on the road.

Jokic records another triple-double

Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic's third triple double of the season and 79th of his career helped the Denver Nuggets to a 122-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jokic scored 15 points with 13 rebounds and 13 assists as Jamal Murray contributed 24 points including four three-pointers for Denver who improve to 5-3.

For the Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points but only four in the final quarter when OC went seven-for-22.

The Los Angeles Lakers ended their winless start to the season to move to a 1-5 record with a 121-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

LeBron James scored a game-high 26 points with six rebounds and eight assists, while Anthony Davis excelled with 23 points and 15 rebounds, although he appeared to nurse a back injury late.

Russell Westbrook was solid again off the bench, adding 18 points on 50 per cent shooting with eight rebounds and eight assists. Westbrook scored four points in the final two minutes to see off any Nuggets' challenge.

The Lakers improved their three-point shooting, making 13-of-30 attempts at 43.3 per cent, while they also scored 48 points in the paint, taking advantage of the defensive limitations of the Nuggets' two-time MVP-winning center Nikola Jokic.

Jokic recorded a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Jamal Murray, who missed the 2021-22 campaign with a ruptured ACL, had his best scoring game of the season with 21 points.

The win ends the Lakers' five-game losing run to start the season. For Denver, the defeat means they are 1-3 on the road this season and 4-3 overall.

Warriors beaten by struggling Pistons

The Golden State Warriors had defensive issues again as they suffered back-to-back losses and fell to a 3-4 record after a 128-114 loss to the Detroit Pistons, who ended their own five-game losing run.

Last year's top NBA Draft selection Cade Cunningham was an assist short of a triple-double, contributing 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Pistons dominated after quarter-time.

Stephen Curry scored 32 points on 10-of-24 shooting, while Jordan Poole added 30 with Klay Thompson rested. The Warriors, who have given up 120-or-more points in five of their past six games, only made 12-of-39 three-point attempts (31 per cent).

Doncic matches rare Jordan feat

Luka Doncic became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1986 to score 30-or-more points in each of the first six games of the season as the Dallas Mavericks won 114-105 over the Orlando Magic.

The Slovenian point guard shot 17-of-26 from the field for 44 points with three rebounds and five assists. Doncic scored 30 of his 44 points in the first half.

Top 2022 NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero failed to reach 20 points for the first time in his career, scoring 18 on six-of-20 shooting for the Magic.

Paolo Banchero showed exactly why the Orlando Magic took him with the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, nearly posting his first career triple-double as his side defeated the Charlotte Hornets 113-93 on Friday.

With last year's fifth overall pick Jalen Suggs and starting point guard Cole Anthony both missing through injuries, Orlando opted to not start a traditional point guard and instead let their new star run the show.

He looked right at home as the focal point of the Magic's offense, scoring 21 points on eight-of-14 shooting while adding 12 rebounds and seven assists to deliver their first win of the season.

Even more impressive was the fact that almost all of that production came in the first three quarters, as Orlando built an 82-53 lead heading into the fourth and Banchero sat out the final nine minutes.

Through six career games, Banchero is averaging 24 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and is yet to score less than 20 points in a contest.

Lakers lose again despite James' best efforts

LeBron James' 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals were not enough to bring an end to the Los Angeles Lakers' winless start to the season, falling to 0-5 after a 111-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James shot 10-of-24 from the field and one-of-six from deep, and in his first game off the bench since his rookie season, Russell Westbrook was plagued by similar issues.

Westbrook shot six-of-17 for his 18 points, while also missing half of his 10 free throws and committing five turnovers.

For the Wolves, Anthony Edwards led the scoring with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting, while Rudy Gobert was seven-of-11 for 22 points and 21 rebounds to lift their record to 4-2.

Antetokounmpo mounts case for third MVP

With two MVP trophies already in his display case, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo made it clear why he is one of the favourites yet again this season with a powerhouse performance in a 119-108 win against the New York Knicks.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in made field goals (11), made free throws (seven), points (30), rebounds (14) and assists (nine) in a true virtuoso showing. He was supported well, with six teammates making their way into double figures, including 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench from Bobby Portis.

With the win, the Bucks are now 4-0, and the only remaining unbeaten team.

LeVert and Mitchell drop 41 each in overtime Cavaliers win

Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers went head-to-head with star Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and emerged 132-123 winners in overtime.

While Brown and Tatum had 32 each at a combined 22-of-41 from the field (54 per cent), the Cavs pairing played even better, scoring 41 each off a combined 27-of-47 (57 per cent).

Second-year phenom Evan Mobley also had a big hand in the win, chipping in 19 points (seven-of-12 shooting) with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

The injury to Cole Anthony announced by the Orlando Magic on Thursday means they may be running out of guards soon. 

Already without Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs, the Magic will now be missing third-year point guard Anthony, who will be sidelined indefinitely after an MRI revealed a right internal oblique injury. 

Anthony was injured in Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers after he had nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes.  

The Magic said that Anthony’s return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. In four games this season, he is averaging 15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists.  

Fultz has yet to play this season due to a toe fracture and Suggs has missed the past three games with a right ankle sprain. 

R.J. Hampton could see an increase in minutes with the Magic thin in the backcourt, while the only other healthy guards on Orlando’s roster are veteran Terrence Ross and rookie Kevon Harris.  

Jayson Tatum did not play down his NBA MVP ambitions after delivering a standout performance to guide the Boston Celtics to a 126-120 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

The 24-year-old posted 40 points and eight rebounds in a magnificent solo turn, with a late 12-point combination with Derrick White in the fourth quarter helping his team over the line.

Such rich early term form, to take the Celtics to 3-0 through their first three games of the season following wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, has already stoked talk of solo accolades for Tatum.

Speaking afterwards, the small forward was quick to caution that the season remains in its infant stages, but acknowledged such an honour is part of why he plays the game.

"I mean, it's early but [the MVP] has always been a goal of mine," he stated. "When I was a kid, getting into the NBA wasn't all I wanted to do.

"I wanted to be a champion, reach all those accolades and accomplishments, and MVP is obviously at the top of that list."

Joel Embiid scored 40 points but it was not enough to prevent the Philadelphia 76ers from slumping to a 0-3 start to the new NBA season after a 114-105 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

James Harden had minimal impact in the second half as Spurs small forward Doug McDermott took control with an eight-point burst, capping his 14 points, which all came in the second half.

The 76ers, who had been beaten by contenders, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, to open their season, squandered Embiid's huge game where he shot 14-of-25 from the field and hauled down 13 rebounds with two blocks.

Harden only added 12 points on four-of-18 shooting, making one-of-six three-point attempts. The former MVP provided 12 assists with nine rebounds and two blocks, but was inconspicuous in the second half with the game up for grabs, with the Spurs defense denying him good looks.

Tyrese Maxey contributed 25 points for the 76ers, including three triples, but Philadelphia slumped to their first 0-3 start since 2016-17.

Devin Vassell (22 points with nine-of-14 field shooting, including four three-pointers) and Keldon Johnson (21 points with eight rebounds) were San Antonio's most productive offensive players.

Mitchell betters LeBron start for Cavs

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points as he claimed his first win as a Cleveland Cavaliers player in their 128-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls in their home season opener.

Mitchell achieved a feat that not even LeBron James could, becoming the first Cavs player with back-to-back 30-point games to open a season.

The All-Star, who made a high-profile trade from the Utah Jazz to the Cavs in the off-season, landed four-of-six from beyond the arc with nine rebounds and eight assists.

Zach LaVine returned after off-season knee surgery that forced him to miss Chicago's opening two games to top score for the Bulls with 23 points.

Giannis powers Bucks past Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo only needed 28 minutes to put on an MVP-like display as the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Houston Rockets 125-105 in their home opener at Fiserv Forum.

Antetokounmpo scored 44 points, shooting 17-of-21 from the field with two three-pointers, along with 12 rebounds and three assists.

The Greek forward became Milwaukee's all-time free throws leader, shooting eight-of-13 from the stripe to exceed Sidney Moncrief's 3,505 record, before sitting out with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Jayson Tatum also scored 40 points to lead the 3-0 Boston Celtics past the 0-3 Orlando Magic 126-120, while Paul George had 40 in the Los Angeles Clippers' 111-109 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Paolo Banchero said his dazzling NBA debut was a moment he had "been working for my whole life" after showing why the Orlando Magic made him the first overall pick.

The 19-year-old American-Italian set a Magic points record for a rookie by scoring 27 points with 11-of-18 shooting against the Detroit Pistons, also claiming nine rebounds and providing five assists.

Banchero, who shone for Duke before declaring himself for the 2022 NBA Draft, could not prevent the Magic losing the game 113-109, but his bow at the top level was still one to savour.

The previous most points scored by a Magic rookie on debut was 13 by Mo Bamba four years ago, and Banchero soon sauntered past that mark, while Jaden Ivey did likewise, finishing with 19 points.

Banchero became the first player since LeBron James in 2003 to have a 25-5-5 game or better on debut in the NBA.

His points tally was the most by a number one overall pick on his NBA bow since Allen Iverson scored 30 for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Milwaukee Bucks in November 1996, ESPN said.

"[It is] a moment that you've been working for my whole life – trying to get to this point right here," Banchero said. "It's definitely a milestone.

"I'm proud of myself for getting here. But also, this is the start. It's not the end. You just have to come in and be prepared, be ready and play our best, play my hardest."

He added: "Obviously, would have liked to win. But I just wanted to play hard, play for the team, and that happened, so it's a blessing."

What's more, Banchero felt it could have gone even better on a personal level.

"It's crazy. I felt like I left a lot of points on the board," he said.

"Credit to my team-mates for finding me. It's always nice to see the ball get in that early, get easy buckets around the rim. That's how I try to play, inside out. Try to get easy stuff around the basket and expand out and do more stuff throughout the game."

The New Orleans Pelicans sent a statement to the rest of the league with a 130-108 pounding of the Brooklyn Nets in their opening game of the season on Wednesday night.

Playing away from home, the Pelicans enjoyed a red-hot start, with eight points in the first quarter from Zion Williamson helping to build a 32-14 lead at the first break.

The Nets showed some fight in the second quarter, putting up 36 points in the frame to trim the margin to 58-50 as Kevin Durant had 21 in the first half, but the Pelicans came out of halftime and dropped 40 points in the third period to put the game to bed.

In his first game since May 2021, Williamson looked in tremendous shape, scoring 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting while adding nine rebounds, three assists and four steals. 

He was supported in fine fashion by Brandon Ingram, who top-scored for the Pelicans with 28 points (10-of-17 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists, and C.J. McCollum chipped in 21 points and six assists as well.

For the Nets, Durant showed he is still arguably the best scorer in the league with 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting, and he also tallied four blocks in an impressive two-way performance despite his team's shortcomings.

Box-office Banchero validates top draft selection 

Paolo Banchero was not thought to be an option for the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick until the day of the NBA Draft, but he showed exactly why they took him with a spectacular debut in a 113-109 loss on the road to the Detroit Pistons.

Banchero shattered the Magic record for points by a debuting rookie – previously set at 13 – with 27 on 11-of-18 shooting, and he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished five assists in a complete performance, posting a plus/minus of plus two in his 35 minutes.

It was a great debut for rookie Jaden Ivey as well, who the Pistons selected with the fifth overall pick, as he put up 19 points on eight-of-15 shooting with four assists and three steals.

Ivey complemented last year's top pick Cade Cunningham beautifully, with Cunningham running the show on his way to 18 points (six-of-16 shooting) and 10 assists, while newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic top-scored for Detroit with 24 points on eight-of-16 shooting after hitting six of his first seven three-point attempts.

Morant lifts the Grizzlies in overtime

Ja Morant had his potential game-winner wiped off the board due to a contentious charging foul, but his Memphis Grizzlies got the job done at home in overtime to defeat the New York Knicks 115-112.

Morant was the game's top-scorer with 34 points on 11-of-24 shooting, and his nine assists was equal with New York's Jalen Brunson for the most in the contest.

Starting in place of the injured Jaren Jackson Jr, Santi Aldama gave a good performance with 18 points (seven-of-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds, while Julius Randle was the Knicks' best player, scoring 24 points (nine-of-16 shooting) with 11 rebounds and six assists.

Mitchell shines in Cavaliers debut despite loss

The Cleveland Cavaliers were treated to a terrific debut from star offseason acquisition Donovan Mitchell, but it was not enough to overcome an early Darius Garland injury in a 108-105 road loss to the Toronto Raptors.

All-Star point guard Garland only played 13 minutes before his night ended with a rough poke to the eye in the second quarter. Taking over some of Garland's point guard responsibilities, Mitchell dished off nine assists as well as leading the game in scoring with 31 on 12-of-21 shooting.

All five Raptors starters scored at least 15 points in classic Toronto fashion, with Pascal Siakam tallying 23 on nine-of-20 shooting with 11 rebounds and four steals, while reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes had 15 points (seven-of-14 shooting) with seven assists and a game-high plus/minus of plus 20 in his 32 minutes.

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