Zion Williamson announced himself to the NBA with a thrilling taste of his talent on Wednesday, while James Harden and Russell Westbrook fuelled the Houston Rockets.
Huge expectations surrounded Williamson’s long-awaited debut and the number one draft pick did not disappoint.
The 19-year-old, having overcome knee surgery, erupted for 17 straight points in the fourth quarter to finish with a joint team-high 22, plus seven rebounds, through 18 minutes in the New Orleans Pelicans’ 121-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 32 points and 14 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan added 20 points.
Harden and Westbrook put on their own show in Houston, combining for 55 points as the Rockets topped the Denver Nuggets 121-105.
Fred VanVleet made six of his seven three-point attempts to help the Toronto Raptors prevail 107-95 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
LeBron, Davis drive Lakers
LeBron James dropped 21 points and Anthony Davis had 28 as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the New York Knicks 100-92 at Madison Square Garden.
The win ensured the Lakers bounced back from its heavy loss to the Boston Celtics, which made it two wins on the trot with a 119-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
There was an overtime thriller in Miami, where Jimmy Butler recorded 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds to take the Heat to a 134-129 defeat of the Washington Wizards.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ four-game winning streak came to a surprise end against the struggling Atlanta Hawks, which had John Collins to thank for 33 points and 16 rebounds in a 102-95 triumph.
Difficulty for Draymond
Draymond Green struggled on his return from illness as the Golden State Warriors slumped to 129-96 home loss to the Utah Jazz.
The three-time NBA champion played 25 minutes for five points, four rebounds and two assists in the rout.
Zion sends New Orleans into frenzy
Williamson lit up Smoothie King Center, proving a danger from beyond the arc as he went four from four from three-point range.
Utah Jazz 129-96 Golden State Warriors
Toronto Raptors 107-95 Philadelphia 76ers
Detroit Pistons 127-106 Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder 120-114 Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Lakers 100-92 New York Knicks
Boston Celtics 119-95 Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat 134-129 Washington Wizards (OT)
Atlanta Hawks 102-95 Los Angeles Clippers
Chicago Bulls 117-110 Minnesota Timberwolves
Houston Rockets 121-105 Denver Nuggets
Indiana Pacers 112-87 Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs 121-117 New Orleans Pelicans
Lakers at Nets
Kyrie Irving is expected to return from a hamstring problem when the Brooklyn Nets (18-24) host the Lakers (35-9) on Thursday.