Wednesday's roundup: Suns thump Lakers, despite Kobe
Phoenix — The shots were falling from all over the court for the Phoenix Suns in their home opener Wednesday night.
Kobe Bryant was a one-man show for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The result was a 119-99 Suns blowout.
Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points in his Phoenix debut, Marcus Morris matched his career high with five 3-pointers and the Suns dominated the night despite Bryant's 31 points.
Goran Dragic scored 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter, when the Suns outscored the Lakers 39-24 and led by as many as 29.
Phoenix's Eric Bledsoe had 16 points and nine assists before he drew his second technical foul and was ejected with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Lakers were blown out for the second night in a row, dropping their opener at home to Houston 108-90 on Tuesday night, losing first-round draft pick Julius Randle for the season with a broken leg in the process.
"I told them we have to hang in there and stay together as a team," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "It is only two games."
Marcus Morris scored 21 points. Twin brother Markieff added 12.
The high-energy Suns, who won a surprising 48 games last season but failed to make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference, made 16 3-pointers, one more than their high of last season.
"That's what coach wants us to do," Thomas said, "play to our strengths, attack, be aggressive, score as early as possible and shoot a lot of 3s."
Bryant, 11-of-25 from the field, didn't play in the fourth quarter.
"I told you guys from the beginning I am back to myself," said Bryant, who missed nearly all of last season with a knee injury. "I feel completely fine."
Ed Davis scored 14 points and Wayne Ellington 13 for Los Angeles.
"Kobe, he can score 30 points, but he took a lot of shots," Dragic said. "I think the percentage was not so good. That's what we wanted to do."
The Lakers trailed only 61-55 after Jordan Hill's two free throws with 11:15 left in the third quarter. But Dragic led the Suns on a 34-11 outburst and Phoenix was up 95-66 after Marcus Morris' 3-pointer with 2:22 left in the period.
Bledsoe's second technical came after Bledsoe collided with Bryant going for a rebound. Bledsoe was bleeding from the face when he left the court.
"You know Eric and Goran, these guys deserve some respect from the calls," Hornacek said. "When these guys are getting s lapped in the face and they're not calling it, then I don't mind a guy getting upset like that."
The Suns shot out to an 18-point first-quarter lead but the Lakers, with Bryant on the bench, used a 13-1 run to get back in it.
More Wednesday games
Chicago 104, (at) New York 80: Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds in his Chicago debut, Derrick Rose scored 13 points after missing most of the last two seasons, and the Bulls spoiled Derek Fisher's first game as an NBA coach by beating the Knicks.
Reserve Taj Gibson finished with 22 points to lead the Bulls, who with a wealth of frontcourt depth didn't even need a big night from Rose. The former MVP took only seven shots and had five assists in 21 minutes in a game Chicago led by as much as 35.
Rose missed the 2012-13 season after tearing his left ACL in the 2012 playoffs. He returned last season and hit the go-ahead shot to beat the Knicks on Halloween in Chicago's home opener, but was lost again for the season when he tore cartilage in the other knee in November.
Carmelo Anthony had 14 points for the Knicks, who won't have it any easier in the second half of their season-opening, back-to-back. They visit the Cavaliers, the other Eastern Conference favorite, on Thursday in the first game since LeBron James returned to Cleveland.
(At) Miami 107, Washington 95: Chris Bosh had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Norris Cole scored a career-high 23 points after winning Miami's starting point-guard job, and the Heat beat Washington to open the post-LeBron James era.
Dwyane Wade added 21 points for Miami, 12 of those down the stretch after he briefly departed with a leg injury. Luol Deng, part of the class assembled this summer after James departed, scored 12 points.
It wasn't just James that the Heat were missing from last year's Game 1 rotation. Shane Battier has retired, Ray Allen hasn't decided if he will continue his career and both of those players scored in double digits in the 2013 ring-night matchup against Chicago.
(At) Boston 121, Brooklyn 105: Rajon Rondo returned from a broken hand and had 13 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in the season opener to help Boston beat Brooklyn.
Kelly Olynyk had 19 points and Jeff Green added 17 for Boston, which opened a 29-point lead at the end of the third quarter and coasted to the win.
Mirza Teletovic had 20 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench for the Nets. Joe Johnson scored 19 points for Brooklyn, and Deron Williams had 19 points and eight assists.
Golden State 95, (at) Sacramento 77: Stephen Curry had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 19 points and undermanned Golden State made Steve Kerr a winner in his coaching debut, rolling past Sacramento.
Marreese Speights added 16 points to help the Warriors overcome the first hurdle of Kerr's tenure. Golden State played without power forward David Lee (strained left hamstring) and reserve Brandon Rush (lower back spasms). Center Andrew Bogut also was limited to 18 minutes because of an illness.
The Warriors went ahead by 15 late in the third quarter.
(At) Portland 106, Oklahoma City 89: LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and Portland rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the injury-depleted Oklahoma City.
The Thunder only suited up nine players. Most notably they were without reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant, who had surgery for a fractured bone in his right foot this month and will likely be sidelined until December.
Russell Westbrook picked up the slack, with 38 points, including 26 in the first half.
(At) Charlotte 108, Milwaukee 106 (OT): Kemba Walker made a 21-footer from the top of the key with 5 seconds left in overtime to lift Charlotte past Milwaukee, providing a winning conclusion for fans celebrating the return of the Hornets name after a 12-year absence.
Walker finished with 26 points, including a tying 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation as the Hornets erased a 24-point third-quarter deficit.
Marvin Williams had 19 points, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 17 and Al Jefferson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte. Lance Stephenson had seven points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in his Hornets debut.
(At) Memphis 105, Minnesota 101: Marc Gasol scored a career-high 32 points and Memphis beat Minnesota for the franchise's first victory in a season opener since 2000.
Zach Randolph added 25 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, which had dropped its last 13 openers. Gasol also had nine rebounds, Mike Conley scored 16 points and Courtney Lee finished with 14.
Thaddeus Young had 26 points in his first game with the Timberwolves, going 10-for-18 from the field. Mo Williams scored 18 points and Shabazz Muhammad finished with 13.
Houston 104, (at) Utah 93): Dwight Howard had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Houston beat Utah to spoil Quin Snyder's NBA coaching debut.
James Harden added 18 points and 10 assists, and Trevor Ariza had 20 points for the Rockets, who opened the season Tuesday night in Los Angeles with a 108-90 victory over the Lakers.
Alec Burks led Utah with 18 points. Derrick Favors added 16, and Trey Burke had 15
(At) Indiana 103, Philadelphia 91: Roy Hibbert had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, leading short-handed Indiana past Philadelphia.
Indiana won its season opener for the fourth consecutive year, but this was the first one during that stretch without All-Star swingman Paul George, who is out after breaking his right leg in two places. The Pacers also played without two other starters, power forward David West (sprained right ankle) and guard George Hill (bruised left knee).
Tony Wroten led the 76ers with 22 points. Nerlens Noel had six points and 10 rebounds in his NBA debut.
(At) Toronto 109, Atlanta 102: DeMar DeRozan had 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, and Kyle Lowry added 11 points in Toronto's victory over Atlanta.
Amir Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, and Terrence Ross had 13 for the Raptors, who were an NBA-best 7-1 in the preseason.
Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague and Mike Scott each scored 20 points for the Hawks, and Paul Millsap had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Atlanta's Al Horford, limited to 29 games last season by a torn right pectoral muscle, had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Kings break ground
The Sacramento Kings have officially broken ground on their new downtown arena.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and other city and team leaders gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking at Downtown Plaza on Wednesday, though work at the site started months ago. The $477 million arena is expected to open for the 2016-17 season.
Sacramento won its fight with the NBA to keep the franchise from moving to Seattle in May 2013, when Ranadive bought the team from the Maloof family. Johnson also helped steer a $255 million arena subsidy through the City Council, which made sure the team would stay put in California's capital city.
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star guard, calls the groundbreaking "a historic day in the city of Sacramento." Ranadive says it's a "new era" for the city and that a championship banner will hang from the arena's rafters one day.