The first full slate of NBA games has come and gone. On Wednesday, there were 22 teams in action, and 20 of them were playing their season opener. (The Rockets moved to 2-0 with a win against Sacramento.) We still have a few teams we can’t wait for — Oklahoma City immediately comes to mind — but basketball is positively, undeniable back. It’s a glorious time to be alive.
Here’s what you should know.
Did any trends stand out?
Yes, scoring. There was a hell of a lot of it on Wednesday, with all but five teams scoring 100-plus, including six teams going over 115. There was one absurd barnburner, as the Indiana Pacers beat the Brooklyn Nets 140-131, two teams that might vie for the worst spot in the Eastern Conference. (Probably not, but neither team is good.)
As the three-point era takes hold even more firmly, maybe we’ll see a record-setting scoring season. But on the other hand, it’s literally opening day for nearly all these teams. Actually predicting any trends from a single evening of hoops is premature.
Did anyone get hurt?
Yes. I’d drop a sad emoji with a single tear right here if I could.
We’ll know more on Thursday, but Jeremy Lin suffered a knee injury that looked awfully serious. After Gordon Hayward’s gruesome leg injury on Tuesday, we had hoped for an injury-free evening. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another night.
Brooklyn's Jeremy Lin will undergo evaluation of right knee in New York Thursday, league source tells ESPN. Tremendous concern on injury.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 19, 2017
Is there an update on Hayward?
Hayward recorded this video from his hospital bed that played at the Celtics’ home opener.
Good news, at least, is that the Celtics are expecting Hayward to make a full recovery.
Can Giannis Antetokounmpo really win MVP?
If his whole season is like Wednesday night, then I’d bet money on it. Antetokounmpo had an absurd box score line: 37 minutes, 37 points, 13-of-22 shooting, 11-of-13 from the free throw line, 13 rebounds. He didn’t hit any long jumpers, but he didn’t need to.
The Bucks also beat the Hayward-less Celtics. Boston is scrambling, but they’re still an above average team even without Hayward. It’s extremely early, but this bodes well for Milwaukee.
What happened in the national TV games?
Still, Ben Simmons looked monstrous — 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists — while Joel Embiid was great, scoring 18 points with 13 rebounds. Embiid also played 26 minutes, much more than the minutes restrictions that head coach Brett Brown had talked about earlier this week.
Who else played well?
Hassan Whiteside had 26 points and 22 rebounds, and even made a three-pointer. But wow, it looked so ugly. Please don’t shoot any more of these, Hassan.
Who else played poorly?
The entire Phoenix Suns team. They lost by 48 points and their deficit was nearly 60 at one point.
Also, Stanley Johnson had the worst opening night shooting performance since ... ever.
Stanley Johnson went 0-13 tonight. Per Elias, that's the worst opening-night shooting performance in the shot clock era (since 1954-55) pic.twitter.com/qqMioKFBr4— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 19, 2017
What’s the deal with Markelle Fultz’s free throws?
Fultz scored 10 points, but he missed both free throw attempts with a form that isn’t getting any prettier. The real concern is whether this starts to effect his actual jumper. As I wrote:
Fultz didn’t hit a three-pointer in preseason yet, either. (He only attempted three.) At Washington, Fultz was a threat to pull up off the dribble at any time, one of the biggest reasons why he went first overall to Philadelphia. If he can’t do that right now, that dramatically worsens his game — he’s a fluid athlete, but not a dynamic enough one that can rely solely on that.