SAN FRANCISCO – Kawhi Leonard sure knows how to spoil Golden State’s fun.
Leonard did it again in the Warriors’ first game at Chase Center just like in their farewell at Oracle Arena four months ago, scoring 21 points in three quarters to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 141-122 victory Thursday on opening night 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 the Clippers after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first title last season in a six-game finals against the Warriors.
“I thought he started doing it in the second round last year,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. “In the first round he was just dominating and then I thought as each round went on he started playmaking more and more, but what he’s doing now is on another level.”
Stephen Curry scored 23 points but committed eight turnovers and D’Angelo Russell added 20 points 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.
“They hit us with our typical third quarter type of vibe,” Curry said.
What a dud for the Dubs as they formally opened new Chase Center in San Francisco after 47 years at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Patrick Patterson scored 20 points and Ivica Zubac had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots for Los Angeles.
The Clippers jumped out to a 14-0 lead making 5 of their first 6 shots.
Bucks 117, Rockets 111
In Houston, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and had a triple-double before fouling out and his supporting cast held on to lead Milwaukee past the Rockets 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 the Bucks 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.
Hawks 117, Pistons 100
In Detroit, Trae Young had 38 points and nine assists and Atlanta opened the season with a victory over the hosts.
John Collins added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Jabari Parker had 18 points. Vince Carter checked in for the Hawks with 6:52 left in the first quarter, becoming the first player to see action in 22 NBA seasons.
Derrick Rose led the Pistons with 27 points.