Two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo got a scare just four minutes into Saturday night’s 112-102 exhibition loss to the Dallas Mavericks when he got popped in the eye when he collided with Dorian Finney-Smith.
Finney-Smith swooped in for a rebound and got inside position on Antetokounmpo. The two collided, with the Milwaukee star dropping to the court. With play continuing, he scooted past the end line and sat with his head in his hands before the Bucks called a timeout.
The injury didn’t come close to slowing down Antetokounmpo. He returned and scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Khris Middleton scored 18 points while Bobby Portis and D.J. Wilson had 14 apiece.
“Once I got back to the locker room, the doctor checked my eye, I felt good. I wanted to go out there and play,” he said. “It was the first game of the season. I didn’t want to just play two minutes and sit the rest of the game out. I decided to go out there, continue, play with my teammates and just enjoy this first game.
“It was good to be out there, good to go out there, have fun with my teammates and compete and just play basketball again.”
Coach Mike Budenholzer said the medical staff was “trying to decide whether he needed to get some stitches in his eye. … Pretty shallow cut. They glued it together. He’s fine. Just a little bit of a knock, little bit of blood. I don’t think anything more than that.”
Luka Doncic and Maxi Kleber scored 13 points apiece for Dallas and Jalen Brunson had 10 points.
RAPTORS 111, HORNETS 100
At Charlotte, North Carolina, Matt Thomas scored 16 points and Terence Davis had 13 for the Raptors. Rookie Malachi Flynn had an impressive debut, scoring nine points on three 3-pointers, including consecutive shots from behind the arc in the third quarter. Flynn, the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in his lone season at San Digo State, also had four assists.
The loss spoiled the Hornets debuts of veteran Gordon Hayward and rookie LaMelo Ball. Hayward, who was acquired from Boston, scored 11 points. Ball, the third pick overall in the draft, didn’t score but had 10 rebounds and four assists in 16 minutes.
JAZZ 119, SUNS 105
In Salt Lake City, Jordan Clarkson scored 19 points and Nigel Williams-Goss had 15 to lead the Jazz over the Suns, who were without newcomer Chris Paul and Dario Saric.
Paul missed the game with a sore right ankle and Saric had right quad soreness.
Langston Galloway scored 17 and Devin Booker had 16 for the Suns. Deandre Ayton had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
WARRIORS 107, NUGGETS 105
At San Francisco, Stephen Curry took his pre-game tunnel shot to a new level — literally — before helping the Warriors to victory in their exhibition opener.
Curry normally takes a long shot from the tunnel, but on Saturday night made a shot from up in the stands during warmups.
He then scored 10 points for real in the Warriors’ first game since March 10, before the 2019-20 season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Warriors finished last in the NBA and missed the playoffs following five straight trips to the NBA Finals. They even missed going to the bubble in Florida, the format for restarting the season following the COVID-19 shutdown.
Kent Bazemore scored 13 points and Damion Lee 12 for the Warriors, who have eight new players.
The Warriors made 11 of 40 3-pointers. Nine of their first 10 shots were from behind the arc. Mychal Mulder made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 10 points.
Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Denver.
THUNDER 121, SPURS 108
At San Antonio, Theo Maledon scored 20 points and Mike Muscala had 18 for the Thunder, who held off the Spurs. Hamidou Diallo, Frank Jackson and Aleksej Pokusevski scored 14 apiece. Diallo also had 10 rebounds. Isaiah Roby had 11 rebounds to go with seven points.
Patty Mills scored 24 for the Spurs while Rudy Gay had 15.
CAVALIERS 107, PACERS 104
At Cleveland, Cedi Osman scored 23 points and rookie Isaac Okoro had 18 in his debut for the Cavaliers, who scored 42 points in the fourth quarter. Okoro was the fifth pick overall out of Auburn.
Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points apiece for the Pacers while Myles Turner added 14.
GRIZZLIES 107, TIMBERWOLVES 105
At Minneapolis, Ja Morant had 20 points and 11 assists as Memphis held off Minnesota. Jonas Valanciunas added 13 points and Kyle Anderson and Desmond Bane had 12 each.
Jaylen Nowell led the Timberwolves with 22, D’Angelo Russell had 14 and Karl-Anthony Towns 13.