The defending champions Golden State Warriors and finals runners-up Cleveland Cavaliers are still shaking off the cobwebs, with both NBA powerhouses suffering double-digit defeats on Saturday.
The Warriors fell 111-101 to the Grizzlies in Memphis, while the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers were manhandled at home by the Orlando Magic 114-93.
The Warriors dropped their second of three games to start the new season as center Marc Gasol scored 34 points for the Grizzlies, who continued their strong play against Golden State at the FedExForum.
Last season, Memphis handed Golden State two of their 15 regular-season losses, including a 110-89 rout in December last year at the same venue.
The Warriors got 37 points from guard Stephen Curry and 29 points and 13 rebounds from forward Kevin Durant, but both were thrown out of the game with 43 seconds left for arguing with the officials.
Curry was tossed after he threw his mouthpiece in the direction of an official after he thought he had been fouled on a drive to the basket. Durant tried to argue in Curry’s favor and was sent to the dressing room as well.
It was the first time in his career that Curry was ejected in a regular season game.
A much calmer Curry said after the game that his ejection was justified.
“I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over and I did something stupid,” Curry said. “I deserved to get kicked out.”
The Grizzlies led nearly the entire contest and by as many as 19 points in the second half, showing off their revamped, up-tempo lineup.
In Cleveland, Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points and the Orlando Magic snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.
Orlando led by as many as 37 points and never trailed.
The skid was the longest in Magic history to any one team, just as the winning streak was Cleveland’s best against a single opponent. The Cavaliers had not lost to the Magic since November 2012.
Jonathon Simmons came off the bench to score 19 points for Orlando and Evan Fournier finished with 13 points. DJ Augustin had 12 points and 16 assists.
“They were playing at a different speed than we were. Way faster,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “They got early confidence and when they got off to their hot start it was hard to put them out.”
Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs added to the Chicago Bulls’ early season misery with an 87-77 win.
The Spurs, who are playing without last season’s leading scorer Kawhi Leonard and French star Tony Parker, led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Leonard is out with right quadriceps tendinopathy while veteran guard Parker is out until the middle of next month after undergoing surgery on his left quadriceps tendon.
Leonard’s absence has put more pressure on Aldridge to pick up the slack and he has delivered.
Robin Lopez scored 16 points for the Bulls, who are without a handful of key players, including Bobby Portis, who is serving an eight-game suspension for a fight with teammate Nikola Mirotic.
The fight in practice this week left Mirotic in the hospital with broken bones in his face and a concussion.
Portis on Saturday publicly apologized to Mirotic saying that players are battling for jobs and “things happen.”
“I’m wrong for what I did,” he said. “Me and Niko are competitors and we’re in the same position and so we compete. We compete and things happen.”
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7