Rookie Damian Lillard scored 20 points, including eight in overtime, and the Portland Trail Blazers slowed down James Harden in a 95-85 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
Lillard and Nicolas Batum each made a three to help Portland open an 87-81 lead early in overtime. Harden then made a pair of free throws before Lillard converted a reverse layup. His second three of overtime pushed Portland’s lead to 93-85 with 1:25 remaining.
Harden led the Rockets with 24 points in his home debut, but he was not as dominant as he was in the first two games. He scored 37 and a career-high 45 points in his first two games after he was acquired in a deal with Oklahoma City last week. The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year signed a five-year, US$80 contract extension on Wednesday.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Wesley Matthews had 16 points, and J.J. Hickson added nine points and 12 rebounds.
Jeremy Lin had 13 points and seven assists in his home debut for the Rockets, who lost for the first time this season.
The game was tied with 1:17 to go before Lin made a layup while being fouled by Hickson. He sunk the free throw to give Houston an 81-78 lead.
Matthews tied it again with a three with just under a minute left.
Defending champions the Miami Heat bounced back from a defeat in New York the night before to beat the winless Denver Nuggets 119-116.
The Boston Celtics got their season started by downing the under-manned Washington Wizards 89-86, with Paul Pierce scoring 27 points for the Celtics.
In Dallas, O.J. Mayo scored 30 points to keep the Dallas Mavericks unbeaten against the Charlotte Bobcats, 126-99.
Mayo made a career-high seven 3-pointers, including one that put the Mavericks ahead for good late in the second quarter as Dallas improved to 16-0 all-time against Charlotte.
The Indiana Pacers needed two overtime periods to see off the Portland Trailblazers in Indianapolis. George Hill scored 18 points, including the first four in the second overtime, after Sacramento forced overtime with Marcus Thornton’s 3-pointer with 48.6 seconds left in regulation. He did it again in overtime, hitting another tying three with 26.4 seconds left.
Thornton scored 26 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Sacramento.
In other games on Saturday, the New Orleans Hornets toppled the Chicago Bulls 89-82, the Brooklyn Nets gave some cheer to a storm-battered New York area with a 107-100 win over the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks edged out the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-102.
Also on Saturday, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz 110-100, while the Golden State Warriors downed the L.A. Clippers 114-110.