A number of Australia’s NBA contingent were on court for their respective teams’ season openers with Ben Simmons and Patty Mills among those to savour wins.
Ben Simmons and Patty Mills have helped Philadelphia and San Antonio to wins in their NBA openers while Aron Baynes suffered defeat in his first competitive game for Toronto.
Simmons had a key dunk late in the game to ice a performance of 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the 76ers rallied to overcome the Washington Wizards 113-107.
Joel Embiid scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while Shake Milton added 19 points off the bench in head coach Doc Rivers’ debut in charge of Philadelphia.
“I don’t think anybody can stop me, especially with the mentality I have this year,” Embiid said.
Russell Westbrook led the Wizards with 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds for his 147th career triple-double while his backcourt partner Bradley Beal scored 31 points.
Philadelphia trailed by as many as 12 points in the third quarter but finished the stronger as first Embiid – with 17 points in the final quarter – made his mark before Simmons sealed the win with a monster dunk in the waning moments.
“Dwight’s (Howard) been pushing me to get better. He wants me to be great,” Simmons said. “I really appreciate that. It makes you want to work.”
Boomers guard Mills provided his spark off the bench for San Antonio who overwhelmed the Memphis Grizzlies 131-119.
Not even 44 points from Memphis young gun Ja Morant could deny the Spurs, who had seven players scoring in double figures including Mills – 13 points.
Baynes started at centre for Toronto and despite a strong start of 11 points and nine rebounds the Raptors were overrun 113-99 by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Jayson Tatum banked in a fall-away, go-ahead three-pointer in the final second, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the potential tying free throw with 0.4 seconds left, as the Boston Celtics edged the Milwaukee Bucks 122-121.
In other action on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball went scoreless for the Charlotte Hornets as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first home game in nearly 300 days with a 121-114 triumph, while the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves also won.
Buddy Hield tipped in Harrison Barnes’ miss at the buzzer to lift the Sacramento Kings to a stunning 124-122 win over the Denver Nuggets in overtime.
Rudy Gobert scored 20 points and collected 17 rebounds to lead the visiting Utah Jazz to a 120-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Devin Booker scored 22 points and Mikal Bridges added 18 as the Phoenix Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-102 in the final game of the day.