Durant debut spoiled; Cavs rout Knicks.
OAKLAND, California (AP) – San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 35 points as the Spurs emphatically spoiled Kevin Durant’s long-awaited Golden State debut Tuesday with a 129-100 rout that sent Warriors fans for the exits early on the team’s opening night.
Cleveland, who defeated the Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals, looked more assured in its opening game, sweeping past New York on a night the Cavaliers raised last season’s championship banner.
Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but little looked in sync for MVP Stephen Curry and the reigning Western Conference champions in a forgettable first game – and quite a different one after the Warriors dominated at home and came out of the blocks last season with a record 24-0 start.
Leonard scored 31 points by the end of the third, LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Spurs.
Curry, last season’s first unanimous MVP, scored 26 points but was just 3 for 10 from 3-point range.
Thompson was particularly off-color, making only one three-pointer from six attempts.
Instead it was San Antonio who seized control from the contest early on, grabbing a 31-20 lead by the end of the first quarter which they were never to relinquish.
By half-time the Spurs had taken a commanding 64-46 lead and were always able to keep the Warriors at arm’s length as they sought to rally thereafter.
While Leonard was outstanding, demonstrating his readiness to step into the leadership role vacated by the retired Tim Duncan, the Spurs also benefited from a dazzling performance from LaMarcus Aldridge, who chipped in with 26 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.
Jonathon Simmons also stood out with 20 points from his 28 minutes on the court while veteran Manu Ginobili also made double figures with 10 points.
Cleveland’s LeBron James had his 43rd career triple-double to power the Cavaliers past New York 117-88.
James scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds and 14 assists in front of a raucous home crowd that was on its feet from the pregame ceremony until late in the game, celebrating the city’s first championship in 52 years.
Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, including 19 in the third quarter when Cleveland went on a 20-4 run that rapidly ended the Knicks’ hopes of an upset.
Carmelo Anthony led New York with 19 points.
Portland extended its run of winning home openers to 16 straight seasons as Damian Lillard scored 39 points to lead the Trail Blazers to a 113-104 victory against Utah.