Four 2013 NBA preseason games are in the books. The first day of action included some expected stars, like Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard, but also some unlikely heroes. Because it is the preseason, we will be focusing on the unlikely heroes, for this may be their only chance at the marquee.
Lakers 104, Warriors 95
End-of-the-bencher Xavier Henry, a former lottery pick of the Grizzlies, exploded for 29 points in 26 minutes to lead the Lakers to victory over Golden State in Ontario. Henry shot 9-15 from the floor and drew a game-high 11 free throw attempts. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol both sat due to coach's decision, and Kobe Bryant remains out. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 26, and Andre Iguodala had 15 in his Warriors debut.
Bulls 82, Pacers 76
"The Return" was a bit anticlimactic, coming in the preseason and all. But Derrick Rose did indeed come back, and looked like his fast, explosive self. Rose scored 13 points with three assists and four turnovers in 20 minutes of action. He and fellow guard Jimmy Butler played with a great deal of intensity for a preseason game; Butler drew 12 FTAs. The Pacers also went hard, as Paul George and David West each scored 14. Danny Granger came off the bench to shoot 2-10 in his return to full-time action.
Pelicans 116, Rockets 115
Dwight Howard dropped 19 points and nine rebounds in his Houston debut, and the starting lineup featuring him, James Harden and Chandler Parsons looked quite good. Omri Casspi (20 points on 9-10 shooting) and Patrick Beverley (12 points on 4-5 shooting, five assists, four steals) were quite nice off of the bench, too, but sharp shooting by Anthony Morrow (26 points on 18 shooting possessions) and the Pelicans ruled the day. Tyreke Evans went down in the first half with a turned ankle and didn't return. Eric Gordon sat out, as well. But Austin Rivers, to the rescue! The sophomore had 21 points and five assists off of the bench.
Thunder 95, Fenerbahce Ulker 82
Kevin Durant had 24 points in 29 minutes, including one nasty little dunk. Serge Ibaka added 15 points and four blocks, Reggie Jackson had five assists to one turnover, and OKC rolled their Turkish opponent. Fenerbahce was led by Nets prospect Bojan Bogdanovic, who tallied 19 points on 14 shooting possessions.