NBA Roundup: Thunder win opener, Wolves up next today
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant scored 30 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder win their season opener with a 97-89 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.
Durant led the league in scoring the past two seasons, including averaging 27.7 last season. On Sunday, he was 11-of-19 from the field and added five rebounds and six assists.
James Harden added 19 points and the Thunder held Orlando star Dwight Howard to just 11 points.
The Thunder lost to Dallas last year in the Western Conference finals but are expected to one of the top teams this season. They led throughout, including by 18 at the end of the third quarter and really were never in danger of losing. Meanwhile, the Magic looked like a team that was still dealing with the distraction of Howard and his trade demands, which dominated headlines in Orlando since the lockout ended.
NBA commissioner David Stern weighed in on the Howard situation Sunday, saying before the game, "That's the beauty of the soap opera. How it plays out, we'll wait and see."
Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins did a good job on Howard. The Magic's star center averaged more than 22 points per game last year, shooting 59 percent for the season.
He did have 15 rebounds.
A 13-2 run in the second quarter, after Durant and Russell Westbrook checked back in, helped the Thunder get out to a 17-point lead. They led 55-41 at the break. Durant had 14 points in the first half.
Ryan Anderson scored 25 points and Jameer Nelson added 18 for the Magic, who shot just 37 percent from the field and had 18 turnovers.
Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points, including a pair of free throws with the game tied and 16 seconds left, and New York survived a seesaw season opener Sunday to edge the Celtics 106-104.
Heat 105, Mavs 94
While Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were on the court celebrating the championship they won over LeBron James and Dwyane Wade last season, the Miami Heat were gathered in another part of the building.
It wasn't because they dreaded watching the ceremony, they insisted.
They were simply getting ready to show everyone why they are favored to win it all this season.
James and Wade led a series of scoring waves that put Miami ahead by 35 points midway through the third quarter, the lead peaking when James soared to the rim and tipped an alley-oop pass to Wade so he could have the dunk instead. The game was essentially over then, although the Mavs reserves fueled a late rally that made the final score look close, 105-94.
Bulls 88, Lakers 87
Derrick Rose drove the lane and lofted home a smooth floating shot for the winning points in the Chicago Bulls' opener.
Rose scored 22 points and hit a short go-ahead shot with 4.8 seconds to play, and the Bulls rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 3:44 for an 88-87 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
"If it weren't for my teammates, making the steal and getting the ball to me at the end, there's no way I could have gotten that shot off to help us win that game," Rose said.
That credit went straight to Deng, who scored 21 points and stole Kobe Bryant's pass with 16.9 seconds left to set up Rose's winner.