Bucks beat Rockets, spoiling Westbrook-Harden reunion

Associated Press

HOUSTON — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and had a triple-double before fouling out and his supporting cast held on to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 117-111 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night in a star-studded opener featuring the last three MVPs.

Antetokounmpo, the MVP last season, fouled out with about five minutes remaining. He had 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

Brook Lopez made two free throws with about a minute left before a layup by Russell Westbrook. But Lopez made a fadeaway shot to leave Milwaukee up 115-109 with 39 seconds remaining. James Harden added a pair of free throws before Ersan Ilyasova made a jump shot with about 15 seconds to go that sent many fans heading to the exits.

Some had wondered what would happen with the pairing of the two ball-dominant guards in Harden and Westbrook after the 2017 MVP was traded from Oklahoma City for Chris Paul this summer. In their first game together with the Rockets both filled up the stat sheet, but they were unable to come away with a win after leading for much of the game.

Westbrook had 24 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, Harden, the 2018 MVP, added 19 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. He was 2 of 13 from the field, 1 of 8 on 3s and made 14 free throws without a miss.


SAN FRANCISCO — Kawhi Leonard spoiled the Warriors’ first game at Chase Center just as he did their farewell at Oracle Arena four months ago, scoring 21 points in three quarters to lead Los Angeles to the win at Golden State’s snazzy new arena.

Reigning NBA Finals MVP Leonard shot 9 for 17 and also dished out nine assists in his second game with L.A.

Stephen Curry scored 23 points and D’Angelo Russell added 20 in his Golden State debut, but the Warriors got beat up the way they used to do it against the entire NBA, even giving up a 46-point third quarter.

Patrick Patterson scored 20 points and Ivica Zubac had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots for Los Angeles.

Curry, who at 31 is the oldest Warriors player, was 2 of 11 on 3s as Golden State went 15 for 42 from deep.


DETROIT — Trae Young had 38 points and nine assists and Atlanta opened the season with a victory over Detroit.

John Collins added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Jabari Parker had 18 points. Vince Carter checked in for Atlanta with 6:52 left in the first quarter, becoming the first player to see action in 22 NBA seasons.

Derrick Rose led Detroit with 27 points, and Andre Drummond had 21 points and 12 rebounds. On Wednesday night in Indiana, Drummond had 32 points and 23 rebounds in Detroit’s season-opening victory.


Andre Iguodala retiring with Warriors ‘virtual lock,’ Marc Stein says

Dalton Johnson | NBC SPORTS 

Andre Iguodala cemented his legacy with the Warriors over his six-year tenure with the team, winning three championships for Golden State. His time as a Warrior might not be over, too. 

The Warriors traded Iguodala to the Grizzlies this offseason, a move that coach Steve Kerr called a “gut punch” on The Warriors Insider Podcast. Kerr could be reunited with Iguodala … next season. 

The New York Times’ Marc Stein called Iguodala returning to the Warriors for the 2020-21 season a “virtual lock” in his Wednesday newsletter. 

While Iguodala currently is on the Grizzlies’ roster, he is waiting for Memphis to either trade him or negotiate a contract buyout. Even if a contract buyout is completed, however, Iguodala can’t wind up back on the Warriors. A team that trades a player cannot re-sign him during the season in which he was traded. 

But the summer of 2020 could be a different story. 

[RELATED: Iguodala posts cryptic tweet before Clippers-Lakers opener]

Iguodala is due $17.8 million this season before he becomes a free agent this upcoming summer. Stein speculates when Iguodala hits the open market, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP will find his way to Chase Center. 

It only seems right.