In the opening game of the new in-season tournament introduced this NBA season, defending champion Denver handed the Dallas Mavericks their first defeat. Stephen Curry scores a last-second winner for the Warriors against the Thunder.
The Dallas Mavericks have suffered their first defeat in their sixth NBA game of the season. On Friday (local time), the team of superstar Luka Doncic was beaten 114:125 (55:70) by the champions, the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets moved past the Mavericks at the top of the Western Conference with a 5-1 record.
The Nuggets scored 40 points in the first quarter and pulled away to a 20-point difference in the third. The defending champions were carried by Nikola Jokic: With 33 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, the Serb only just missed out on his third triple-double of the season.
Whereas Dallas was unable to get a grip on the joker – Jokic drained an outstanding 14 of his 16 field goal attempts -, Luka Doncic put up 34 points, ten rebounds and eight assists for the Mavs, but also conceded nine turnovers due to the tenacious defense of Michael Porter Jr. Maxi Kleber did not play due to a knee injury.
Warriors win after minutes of video evidence
In the game between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder, the referees stood by the video review for several minutes before the game-winning basket by superstar Stephen Curry was counted.
Curry scored a lay-up over the outstretched arms of Thunder big man Chet Holmgren in the 141:139 (69:67) away win with 0.2 seconds on the clock. However, the referees initially disallowed the points because Curry’s teammate Draymond Green had touched the ring during the action (“basket interference”). After video evidence, however, the referees decided that Josh Giddey of the Thunder had also touched the net – the basket counted. “I didn’t influence the shot,” Green also claimed after the game.
Curry’s goal ultimately made the fifth win of the season perfect for the Warriors. With 30 points, the 35-year-old became the game’s best scorer and also collected eight rebounds and seven assists.
Lillard too much for the Knicks – Grizzlies still winless
Isaiah Hartenstein’s New York Knicks suffered their fourth defeat in their sixth game of the season, losing 105:110 (46:56) on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks – despite 45 points from Jalen Brunson. But Damian Lillard was on the other side: The summer newcomer led the Bucks and scored 15 of his 30 points in the final seven minutes of the game. Hartenstein finished with four points and three rebounds.
By contrast, the Memphis Grizzlies remained winless, the only team in the NBA to do so. The second-placed team from the previous regular season also failed to score in its sixth game, despite taking a double-digit lead with just over three minutes remaining. A late run by the Portland Trail Blazers took the game into overtime, in which the home side won 115:113. Jerami Grant led Portland (26 points), while Desmond Bane (33) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (30, 10 rebounds) delivered good performances at the other end.
The NBA games on Friday (local time) were the first of the season that not only count for the main round, but also for the new tournament format introduced this season. The 30 teams have been divided into six groups and a winner will be determined in a knockout format at the beginning of December. The NBA hopes that this tournament will increase the excitement during the regular season.