Yes Morant breaks Shaq’s record and LaMelo Ball’s historic fruitless debut leads 10 wild stats from the NBA openers

The 2020-21 season may have technically started on Tuesday, but it tipped seriously on Wednesday with a robust 13-game slate. It quickly became a 12-game slate after the matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets was postponed due to the Rockets not being able to fit the required eight players.

We are not sure if this is the first time an NBA game has been postponed due to a team not having enough players, but that would not be the only piece of history we saw on Wednesday night. As the majority of the teams debuted this season, we were treated to incredible performances after incredible performances in one of the most entertaining early season nights in NBA memory recently.

Here’s a look at some of the most notable statistical performance that went into the books Wednesday night.

Morant best Shaq

This year’s rookie did not miss a beat in his season debut, going on a tear that resulted in a career high of 44 points along with nine assists and only a turnover in the Grizzlies’ 131-119 defeat of Spurs. It is second highest score in total ever for another year’s player’s season-opening game, followed by Elgin Baylor’s 52-point performance in 1959. Morant did it in style, delivering one of the most impressive highlights of the young season at throws a spawning up from the back plate in the middle of the air. The 21-year-old also stole a record from none other than Shaquille O’Neal and became the youngest player to score 40 or more points in his team’s season opener.

LaMelo becomes fruitless

After being selected as No. 3 in the 2020 draft, LaMelo Balls NBA career did not get off to a good start on Wednesday as he went goalless while handing out three assists and committing three turnovers in 16 minutes in the team’s 121-114 loss to Cavaliers. He joined a dubious list by simply becoming the fourth top-three pick to go unsuccessful in his NBA debut, and the first since Otto Porter Jr. in 2013.

Ball is not exactly known as a goal scorer, as his talent clearly lies in his passing and playmaking, but he certainly would have liked to have gotten his first NBA basket out of the way on Wednesday. Instead, he will have to wait until Saturday to get out of the snow.

The Hawks score 83 points in the first half

The Atlanta Hawks’ first game after some major offseason moves was an exciting success that blew the Chicago Bulls, 124-104, out for their first win of the year. The Hawks led by as many as 40 points over the course of the game, setting an Atlanta franchise record by scoring 83 points in the first half.

As you could imagine, there were also some strong statistical results in this …

Young scores 37 points on 12 shots

Another wild state from the Hawks game: Point guard Trae Young scored 37 points on just 12 shots and went 5-for-6 from 3-point range, 10-for-12 from the field and 12-for-14 from free-throw line. And he did it all in just under 26 minutes. According to Stathead, no player has scored at least 37 points on 12 or fewer shots since the 1982-83 season (as far back as their database goes).

Only 10 other players during this time have scored at least 37 points in 26 minutes or less.

Brown, Tatum makes Celtic history

Every time you can etch your names in the Boston Celtics history books, it’s a feat. Jaylen Brown scored 33 points, while Jayson Tatum added 30 in the Celtics’ 122-121 opening night victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. It was the first time in Celtics history that two players have each scored 30 or more in the first game of the season.

Tatum also knocked home the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left, which was a rare feat in itself. Thats it latest go-ahead 3-pointer in a season opener in the last 25 seasons, and was it first last second, game-winning field goal in a season opener for over 10 years.

Rozier drills 10 3-pointers

Terry Rozier got off to a slow start in the Charlotte Hornets’ 121-114 loss on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but boy quickly got hot. Rozier had just six points at the break and lowered two of his three attempts from 3-point range. He made four more 3-pointers in the third quarter … and then four more in the fourth quarter, giving him a career-high 42 points and 10 3-pointers a night. It’s the most 3-pointer an NBA player has ever made in his team’s season opener.

Westbrook triple in Wizards debut

Russell Westbrook always brings energy to the court, but you knew he wanted a little extra juice for his first game in a Wizards uniform. The capital’s newest star did not waste time and became the first player in 25 more years put a triple-double in the first three quarters of his team’s season opener. Westbrook finished with 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds in the 113-107 loss to the 76ers, becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to hook a triple-double in his debut with a new team.

We guess it will not be the last.

Butler picks up seven steals

Defending Eastern Conference champion Heat did not get to the start they wanted and suffered a 113-107 loss to the Orlando Magic in the season opener, but Jimmy Butler’s huge defense was on full display. The 10-year-old wing pushed a career-high seven steals at night, including five in the first half. He joins Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Tim Hardaway and LeBron James as the only Heat players to have several halves of five or more steals. Yes, it’s an intricate state, but stealing five in a half is not easy.

Turner swings eight shots

Pacers center Myles Turner was in a stingy mood in his team’s season-opening 121-107 victory over the New York Knicks and tied a career high with eight blocked shots at night. Turner previously completed the performance in February and was one of only four players last season to have eight or more blocks in a game alongside Brook Lopez, Anthony Davis and Hassan Whiteside.

Blazers challenge at first defensive possession

We’re not quite sure if this is an NBA record, but if it is not, it should be close. Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts challenged a call just 30 seconds into the 2020-21 NBA season after Damian Lillard was called to a blocking error while trying to take a charge from Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert.

The call was maintained and sent Gobert to the free throw line, depriving the Blazers of their only challenge in the game. It doesn’t matter much as the Jazz pulled away for a 120-100 victory. It’s hard to imagine a coach’s challenge ever being used so quickly in a team’s first game of the season – or in any game, for that matter.

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