The San Antonio Spurs raised their championship banner then elevated their game when it mattered to edge the Dallas Mavericks 101-100 in a season-opening win.
Tony Parker swished a three-pointer to give the Spurs a one-point lead with about a minute to go and the reigning champions celebrated last season’s success with a triumph in front of their home crowd.
Dallas had a chance to crash the San Antonio party but Chandler Parsons missed a three-pointer in the last seconds and their final full-court heave misfired.
Parker led the way with 23 points, Manu Ginobili added 20 off the bench and Tim Duncan tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds as the team’s familiar faces helped erase an eight-point halftime deficit.
In Los Angeles, the Houston Rockets gave the Lakers a nightmare start to the season in a 108-90 rout that saw Los Angeles lose their top draft pick Julius Randle to what is reportedly a broken right leg.
James Harden scored 32 points, Dwight Howard put up 13 and 11 in his return to Los Angeles, and the Rockets took a 17-point lead into halftime and piled on.
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis displayed his emerging star status as the Pelicans began their new campaign with a 101-84 blowout of the Orlando Magic.
Davis, who became an All Star in his second season and continues to improve, recorded 26 points, 17 rebounds, nine blocks and three steals.