Ja Morant exploded to give the Grizzlies a tough win over the Rockets.
Also, the Jazz pulled off another big upset, improving to 2-0 and beyond!
Follow all the events of the day in our NBA Review!
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JA EXPLODES FOR 49 points in early MVP claim
Ja Morant is on another level this season.
The superstar guard scored 49 points as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Houston Rockets 129-122.
Morant went 1-3-13 from the free throw line with five 3-pointers, eight assists, a steal and a block to help his team to victory.
It came after Morant had 34 points and nine assists in Memphis’ first win over the Knicks and led an undermanned team without Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dylan Brooks.
Trailing Houston by five points late in the third quarter, the Griz won the fourth set 34-22 for their second straight win to open the season.
John Kanchar added 17 points and three steals for Memphis, while Desmond Bain had 14 points and seven assists.
Meanwhile, Houston’s Jalen Green had 33 points and Alperen Sengun had 23 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
JAZZ HAS GOT AN EVEN GREATER LISTENING
The Utah Jazz improved to 2-0 after a big 132-126 overtime road win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in another big upset.
As in their first win over the Denver Nuggets, the Jazz got the better of a real team led by Lauri Markkanen (24 points, 13 rebounds), Kelly Olynyk (21 points, four steals), Jordan Clarkson (29 points, six assists ) and Mike Conley (12 points, 11 assists).
Conley hit a triple with one minute left in the period before Markkanen sealed the win with an 11-foot jumper.
The Timberwolves, led by Anthony Edwards (30 points), D’Angelo Russell (23 points, seven assists), Rudy Gobert (nine points, 23 rebounds) and Karl-Anthony Towns (27 points, eight rebounds), fell to 1-1 in season.
It marked the first time Gobert played against his old team since being traded in the offseason in a blockbuster trade that included four first-round picks to the Jazz.
NETS WIN SIAK’S TRIPLE DOUBLE FOR FIRST WIN
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 57 points as the Nets bounced back from their season-opening loss with a 109-105 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Durant scored 27 points while Irving led the way with 30 points — including five 3-pointers — as the Nets rallied from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter to win.
Brooklyn overcame Pascal Siakam’s triple-double with 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
Meanwhile, Ben Simmons bounced back from his forgettable Nets debut with six points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks.
TATUM, BROWN CABINETS BY 57 pts
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown came up big again as the Boston Celtics kept their perfect start to the season alive with a 111-104 win over the Miami Heat.
Tatum, who had 35 points in Boston’s opener against Philadelphia on Tuesday, had a 29-point outburst as the Celtics beat their Eastern Conference rivals on the road in Florida.
Brown, who also had 35 points in Tuesday’s win over the Sixers, backed up Tatum with 28 points in another polished offensive performance.
Derrick White and Grand Williams were Boston’s only players in double figures with 10 points each.
Saturday’s meeting marked another meeting between two Eastern Conference rivals who have faced each other in the postseason in two of the last three seasons.
“I love playing against the Heat — we’ve had history the last couple of years,” Tatum said after ESPN.
“They make you a better team. They have a lot of pride, a lot of great players and a great coach. They never quit. So it’s always good to play against a team like that because you know it’s going to be a battle.”
Boston’s latest win is another boost for interim head coach Joe Mazula, who took over just last month after previous head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the season for having an affair with a female employee.
“I don’t know if two games counts as a streak, but we’ll take it,” Tatum said. “(Mazzulla) was tremendous. He is learning as he goes. But we’re all in this together—we’re trying to help him just as he’s trying to help us.
“I am happy for him. It’s hard to win in this league.” Tyler Herro led Miami with 25 points, Bam Adebayo added 19 and Jimmy Butler 18.
KNICKS ATTACK IN BIG WIN OVER PISTONS
It was like a college center handpicking his first opponent in front of the home fans. A carefully selected team is designed to create a sense of optimism.
While the Knicks couldn’t say who they’d open with at the Garden, the Pistons would be at the top of their list if they had the chance: The young team feels good about getting first season-opening win in three years.
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and company were perfect crosses, an easy mark for the much hungrier Knicks, who move the ball. Tom Thibodeau’s team didn’t flinch after a disappointing overtime loss to the Grizzlies two nights ago, leading by 10 after one quarter and cruising to its first win, 130-106 over Detroit at a jubilant and upbeat Garden.
Pick a player, pretty much any player, who has touched the court and been productive for the Knicks. Even as Derrick Rose’s layup for Isaiah Hartenstein went through his hands, it went to Obi Taupin for an uncontested 3-pointer.
The second block was determined. Beginners continued to thrive. The players who weren’t the best in the league—Arjay Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Toppin, Rose and Immanuel Quickley—were terrific, and the ball bounced the Knicks’ way.
Jalen Brunson was solid in his home debut in the building he grew up in, Barrett bounced back from his fumble and Julius Randle was efficient and unselfish. Six Knicks scored in double figures, led by Quickley’s 20 (seven assists), Barrett’s 18 and Brunson’s 17 (six assists). The Knicks (1-1) picked up the pace even after scoring baskets, which was the focus of the preseason. The ball moved quickly from side to side, inside and outside, as it did during the exhibition season, to the tune of 29 passes. Of the 10 players in the Knicks rotation, seven shot at least 50 percent from the field.
The Pistons (1-1) had a lot to do with the 20-point halftime bulge. They missed nine of their first 10 free throws, had the ball freely and treated defense as an optional exercise. Detroit played like a young team, with brief “wow” moments followed by defensive mistakes and unforced turnovers.
Rose (13 points, six assists) was the key to the rout, with 11 points and two assists in five minutes in the first half as the Knicks turned a two-point lead into a 13-point lead thanks to the strength of their reserves.
When Quickley hit a key 3-pointer — his first of the season after a scoreless debut — to cap a 17-3 run, the Knicks had a 22-point lead. He made it 23 after back-to-back layups by Brunson and Barrett as the Knicks got absolutely any shot they wanted in the first half.
The Pistons got as close as 12 late in the third quarter as last year’s No. 1 draft pick Cunningham started to heat up, but it was only a moment. Cam Reddish responded with a dunk in the lane and Quickley hit a 3-pointer. The Knicks didn’t have any tense moments this night. The start of the house was uneventful. It felt more like an introduction to the potential of this team, made possible by a strong opponent.
-Zach Brasiler of the New York Post
IN ANOTHER PLACE…
Jonas Valanciunas led the scoring as New Orleans maintained its undefeated record with a 124-112 road win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Brandon Ingram provided offensive support with 28 points, while CJ McCollum (21 points) and Zion Williamson (16) also posted double figures.
Gordon Hayward led the Hornets with 26 points in a game New Orleans led from start to finish.
Atlanta made it two of two on Saturday with a 108-98 loss to the Orlando Magic, with Trae Young leading the Hawks in scoring with 25 points.
Orlando, meanwhile, included a 20-point outing from Paolo Buncher, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Washington is also on a two-game losing streak following a 102-100 win against the Chicago Bulls.
Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 26 points, and Bradley Beal added 19 as part of Washington’s balanced offensive game.
PELICANS 124 HORNETS 112
SPURS 137 PACER 134
BULL 100 WIZARDS 102
MAGIC 98 HAWKS 108
RAPTOR 105 NETWORKS 109
CELTS 111 HEAT 104
PISTONS 106 Knicks 130
GRIZZLY 129 ROCKET 122
JAZZ 132 TIMBERWOLVES 126