James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in his first game with the Houston Rockets, who rallied to a 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons in their National Basketball Association season opener.
“I just wanted to get out there and play,” said Harden who signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension yesterday, according to the Associated Press. “All the talking and all the craziness that has been happening this last week --I just wanted to go out there and play basketball.”
Elsewhere, it was the Indiana Pacers 90, Toronto Raptors 88; Philadelphia 76ers 84, Denver Nuggets 75; Chicago Bulls 93, Sacramento Kings 87; San Antonio Spurs 99, New Orleans Hornets 95; Utah Jazz 113, Dallas Mavericks 94; Golden State Warriors 87, Phoenix Suns 85; Portland Trail Blazers 116, Los Angeles Lakers 106; and Los Angeles Clippers 101, Memphis Grizzlies 92.
The Brooklyn Nets opener against the New York Knicks at the Barclays Center tonight was postponed because of storm damage.
The Miami Heat are favored to win back-to-back NBA titles, with a successful $100 bet returning $225, according to Pregame.com. The Lakers, who have started the season 0-2, are second followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, last season’s runner-up. A winning $100 bet on the Knicks would return $4,000 or $5,000 for the Nets.
Harden, traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 27, and Carlos Delfino, who scored 15 points, gave the Rockets control of the game to overcome an 83-72 deficit in the fourth quarter at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit.
Jeremy Lin, who rose to stardom last season after taking over as the starting point guard for the Knicks, scored 12 points for the Rockets.
Harden, the NBA’a reigning Sixth Man of the Year as the top player off the bench, was in the starting lineup last night. During three seasons with the Thunder, he started seven games.
“I just tried to score and create opportunities,” Harden told reporters. “Carlos Delfino came in hot. A lot of different guys stepped up, and I think that’s how it’s going to be throughout this entire season.”
Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 15 points and Greg Monroe added 14.