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The 76ers looked fun while losing, so The Process still works

Good morning. We have that and more in Thursday's NBA newsletter.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Basketball happened! Let's basketball.

HELP THIS MAN: In case we forgot about Anthony Davis, he reminded us with an absurd line in the Pelicans' season opener: 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists, and four blocks. That's the first opening-night 50-pointer since Michael Jordan in 1989, and Davis nearly added a 5 x 5 game to boot. Alas, the rest of the Pelicans did nothing and New Orleans lost to Denver. It was a perfect microcosm of Davis' career.


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MIA 108 ORL 96

IND 130 DAL 121

BOS 122 BKN 117

TOR 109 DET 91

CHA 107 MIL 96

MEM 102 MIN 98

DEN 107 NOP 102

OKC 103 PHI 97

SAC 113 PHX 94

LAL 120 HOU 114

If you missed anything, we caught you up in one place.

THE NEW GENERATION IS HERE: In addition to Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Myles Turner had big debuts. So did ...

TRUST THE PROCESS (UNTIL THE FINAL FEW MINUTES): The 76ers showed out nicely in their first national TV game in forever before finally succumbing late to the Thunder down the stretch. Joel Embiid dropped 20 points in 22 minutes, Sergio Rodriguez looked excellent, and OKC needed some clutch hoops from Russell Westbrook to hold them off. Everything's coming up Sam Hinkie!

LEE JENKINS ALERT: Amazing profile of Embiid, including the immortal line we'll remember forever: "You know how I learned to shoot? I watched white people. Just regular white people."

GETTING HIS MONEY'S WORTH: ESPN gave us a front-row seat to this lovely 76ers fan flicking Russell Westbrook off. Westbrook's reaction is the best.

SAVAGE: The Kings routed the Suns in Phoenix, then added insult to injury with this tweet.

NOT SO HARDEN AFTER ALL: In a Bleacher Report story, James Harden said Mike D'Antoni was "trippin" when he suggested Harden could average double-digit assists. Then, Harden got 14 in the season opener ... in the first half. Alas, D'Angelo Russell and the Lakers were a little bit better in a fun nightcap. D'Angelo Russell shouted "This is my s***" and ESPN tried to pretend he didn't curse. The Lakers are fun again!

HE'S TALL: The Heat beat the Magic, thanks in part to Hassan Whiteside devouring an Elfrid Payton floater and swallowing it whole.

DRIVE AND KICK BACK! Two years ago, Paul Flannery had a podcast he did regularly. Now, he has it again. Enjoy the first episode of the rebooted Drive & Kick podcast, featuring a discussion of the top five players in the NBA today.

SCHRODER MOVE: The Hawks locked up Dennis Schroder for four years and $70 million, though not all of that is guaranteed. Smart, because there's a good possibility Schroder would have received a max offer in restricted free agency next summer.

ABOUT TIME: The Pistons could be moving back into a downtown Detroit arena as soon as next year.

CAN WE STOP DOING THIS: Enough about whether the Thunder players are watching the Warriors. Russell Westbrook will have the same answer every time. (OK, fine, Steven Adams is an exception).

LET'S TALK MORE ABOUT Jonathon Simmons' last-second dunk on JaVale McGee from Tuesday night, because it was extremely rude and we loved it. Who is Jonathon Simmons anyway? Hope this helps.

"THIS WASN'T FOR ME": Denasia Lawrence kneeled while singing the national anthem before a Heat-76ers preseason game last week. Then, she explained why in a first-person essay for us.

THIS MERITS AN EXPLANATION: Sevyn Streeter was supposed to sing the national anthem before Wednesday's 76ers-Thunder game, but said the team prohibited her from doing so because she was wearing a "We Matter" shirt. She says she was "brought to tears" by the 76ers' decision. The 76ers declined to say why she didn't sing.

#SAGERSTRONG: You'll want to read Gregg Popovich's thoughts on Craig Sager.

TONIGHT: Four more teams debut. Celtics-Bulls (8 p.m. ET) and Clippers-Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET) are your TNT games. On League Pass, the Kings open their new arena against the Spurs at 10:30 p.m. ET and the Wizards open at Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Until next time.


Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.