Special to ESPN.com
FROM SIXTH MAN TO BEST MAN
From Elias: James Harden paid immediate dividends on his new contract by scoring 37 points and handing out 12 assists in his first game with the Rockets as Houston topped the Pistons, 105-96. Harden matched the third-highest point total for any NBA player in his debut for a particular team. The only players to score more than 37 points in their first game for a specific NBA club were Kiki Vandeweghe, who tallied 47 points in his first game with the Trail Blazers (Oct. 27, 1984 at Kansas City), and Wilt Chamberlain, who netted 43 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in his NBA debut (at New York on Oct. 24, 1959). Two other players scored exactly 37 points in their debut for a team: Orlando Woolridge (for the Nuggets in 1990) and Charles Barkley (for the Suns in 1992). But Harden was the first NBA player to score so many points in his debut for a team while registering double-digit assist total.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
From Elias: Tim Duncan stole the show in Anthony Davis' NBA debut with game-highs in points (24) and rebounds (11) in the Spurs' victory at New Orleans. Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds on Wednesday night, 15 years to the day after another heralded number-one draft selection, namely Duncan, played his first game in the NBA (15 points, 10 rebounds for the Spurs at Denver on Oct. 31, 1997).
OSCAR AND ISIAH HAVE COMPANY
From Elias: Damian Lillard made a great first impression by scoring 23 points and adding 11 assists for the Trail Blazers as they topped the Lakers. Lillard joined Oscar Robertson (21 points, 10 assists for the Cincinnati Royals in 1960) and Isiah Thomas (31 points, 11 assists for the Pistons in 1981) as the only players in NBA history with 20 or more points and at least 10 assists in their NBA debuts.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW? GRIZZLIES LOSE THEIR SEASON OPENER
From Elias: The Clippers defeated the Grizzlies in Los Angeles in what was the first game of the season for Memphis. It was Grizzlies' 12th consecutive loss in season openers; their last opening-night win was against the Seattle Supersonics at Vancouver on October 31, 2000 (the franchise's final season in Canada). Not only is that the longest streak of its kind in NBA history, it's the longest losing streak in season openers for any team in the history of the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball or the NHL. In fact, no other team in any of those leagues has ever lost its first game in each of ten straight seasons. The next-longest NBA streak of that kind is eight by the Atlanta Hawks (1999-2006). The longest in Major League Baseball is nine straight seasons, shared by the New York Giants (1893-1901) and Atlanta Braves (1972-1980), as it is in the NFL (Philadelphia Eagles, 1968-1976). The record for consecutive losses in season openers for an NHL team is seven, by the Minnesota North Stars (1972-1978) and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1993-1999).
HAWES SPOILS IGUODALA'S RETURN
From Elias: Spencer Hawes came off the bench and registered team-high totals of 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the 76ers to an 84-75 victory over the Nuggets and spoil Andre Iguodala's return to Philadelphia. Hawes was the first NBA player to score 16 or more points and grab at least a dozen rebounds as a substitute in his team's season opener since November 1, 1991, when two players did it: A.C. Green (28 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers) and Anthony Bonner (17 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings).
BULLS SIMPLY OUTPLAY THE KINGS
From Elias: The Bulls defeated the Kings, 93-87, in a game in which Chicago posted a higher field-goal percentage (41.8% to 40.5%), grabbed more rebounds (46 to 40) and turned the ball over fewer times (18 to 21) than Sacramento. That's a proven recipe for success in this league. During the 2011-12 regular season, NBA teams had a .976 winning percentage (204-5) in games in which they had an advantage over their opponent in all three of those categories and the Bulls went 15-0 under those circumstances.
HILL HITS IN CRUNCH TIME
From Elias: George Hill's tie-breaking field-goal with 2.1 seconds remaining gave the Pacers a 90-88 come-from-behind win at Toronto. It was only the second time in Hill's career that he attempted a potential go-ahead field goal in the final ten seconds of the fourth quarter (or overtime). Hill made a game-winning field-goal for the Pacers that snapped a 91-91 tie with 1.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter at Golden State on January 20 last season.
WHAT DID CORBIN SAY TO THEM AT HALFTIME?
From Elias: The Jazz trailed the Mavericks 63-55 at halftime, but Utah outscored Dallas 37-13 during the third quarter and breezed to a 113-94 victory. It was the first time in more than 13 seasons that the Jazz outscored its opponent by 24 or more points during the third period of a game that it trailed at the intermission. The last time Utah did that was on March 16, 2000 at Cleveland, when they trailed 45-41 at halftime before outscoring the Cavaliers 36-12 in the third period on its way to a 107-86 win.
CLEANING THE GLASS IN UTAH
From Elias: The Jazz outrebounded the Mavericks, 61-40, in Wednesday night's victory. Utah was led by Paul Millsap (15), Al Jefferson (14) and Derrick Favors (10), who became the first trio of Jazz teammates to each pull down at least ten rebounds in a season opener.
LOW-SCORING WIN FOR THE WARRIORS
From Elias: The Warriors overcame Stephen Curry's poor shooting to beat the Suns at Phoenix, 87-85. Curry scored five points and he made only 2 of 14 shots from the floor (14.3%) to match the second-lowest single-game field-goal percentage of his NBA career (minimum: 5 attempts). It was the fewest points scored by the Warriors in a victory to begin a season since the Philadelphia Warriors started the 1954-55 campaign (the first season in the NBA's shot-clock era) with an 87-86 win over the Knicks.