The NBA champion Denver Nuggets picked up right where they left off, opening their 2023-24 season with a dominant 119-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Just as he did in Denver’s Finals series victory against the Miami Heat, Nikola Jokic was at his brilliant best for the home team, orchestrating the Nuggets’ performance behind a 29-point triple-double.
Denver exploded out of the gates to open a 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter, before LeBron James helped the Lakers claw their way back to within 10 by half-time.
However, the Lakers struggled to compete with James off the floor, Denver ultimately coasting to a 12-point win.
Jokic added 13 rebounds and 11 assists to his game-high points total, while James top-scored for Los Angeles with 21, despite only playing 29 minutes.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was successful in his first trip back to Golden State since leaving the team in 2019, helping the Phoenix Suns defeat the Warriors 108-104.
Both teams traded massive momentum swings and substantial leads throughout the game before the Warriors nabbed a slight advantage as the clock ticked into the final five minutes.
But Devin Booker was able to reclaim the lead for Phoenix with a go-ahead layup and later sunk a crucial three to get the Suns over the line.
He finished with 32 points, while Durant contributed 18.
Steph Curry top-scored for Golden State with 27, while former Sun Chris Paul finished with 14 points, six rebounds and nine assists in his Warriors debut.