Wolves fall to Memphis in NBA season opener
Mike Conley scored 24 points and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 102-98, Wednesday night at FedExForum in the season-opener for both teams.
Minnesota guard Zach LaVine (19 points) hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to close the gap to 98-96, but the Timberwolves would not get closer as Conley and JayMichal Green sealed the win for Memphis at the foul line.
Andrew Wiggins led all scorers with a 25 points and seven rebounds. Center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 21 points.
Zach Randolph posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Center Marc Gasol scored 18 points and four blocks and rookie point guard Wade Baldwin finished with seven points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals, three blocks and just one turnover off the bench.
Wednesday's game marked the NBA head coaching debut of David Fizdale, who took the helm at Memphis after several seasons as an assistant in Miami. It was also the first game as head coach of the Timberwolves for Tom Thibodeau, who spent five years as head coach of the Chicago Bulls.
Fizdale had to take the first timeout of his head coaching career early as Minnesota jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 18-1. Memphis played at a deficit throughout the first half and was down by nine points at halftime.
Memphis, however, carried a 76-75 lead into the fourth quarter. Green (12 points), who was 0 of 5 through the first half, scored eight points in the third quarter and hit both 3-pointers he attempted as the Grizzlies held the Minnesota to 16 points in the third.
In the fourth, Randolph scored the Grizzlies first nine points. Not until guard Andrew Harrison made a free throw at 5:52 for an 86-85 lead did another Memphis player score.
Memphis shot 45 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from behind the arc (11 of 24). Conley went 4 of 5 on 3-pointers. The Timberwolves shot 41.9 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep (6 of 18).
At the half, Minnesota led 59-50 and Towns had 16 points. Conley led Memphis with 12 points.
Philadelphia 103, Oklahoma City 97: Russell Westbrook scored nine of his 32 points in the last 4:09, including the go-ahead free throws with 35 seconds left, as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.
Toronto 109, Detroit 91: Coach Dwane Casey called Wednesday night's performance by DeMar DeRozan one of the most efficient he has seen in his time with the Toronto Raptors.
The Compton, Calif., native led the Raptors with a game-high 40 points as Toronto defeated the Detroit Pistons.
Miami 108, Orlando 96: The Miami Heat have lost all their stars, but they didn't forget how to win.
With a rebuilt roster that has little name recognition, the Heat used a well balanced attack, unusual energy and a newfound defensive toughness to open the season with a convincing victory over the Orlando Magic Wednesday night.
Denver 107, New Orleans 102: Jusuf Nurkic had 23 points and nine rebounds and Will Barton added 22 points to foil a 50-point effort by Anthony Davis and lift the Denver Nuggets to a 107-102 season-opening victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night at the Smoothie King Center.
Charlotte 107, Milwaukee 96: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 23 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds in his return to action Wednesday night, leading the Charlotte Hornets to a season-opening 107-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
Boston 122, Brooklyn 117: The Boston Celtics held off a furious Brooklyn charge and escaped with a 122-117 opening-game victory Wednesday, spoiling the head-coaching debut of the Nets' Kenny Atkinson.
Brooklyn was down 21 points with 5 1/2 minutes left, and after the Boston starters re-entered the game, cut the deficit down to three in the final minute. However, Bojan Bogdanovich missed back-to-back 3-pointers on the same possession, and Isaiah Thomas iced the game with two free throws with 11.9 seconds left.