The NBA season is now underway with three games taking place on Tuesday.
The Orlando Magic faced off against the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat played the Chicago Bulls. The Magic/Pacers game marked Magic rookie Victor Oladipo’s return to Indiana, where he played his college basketball.
The Magic fell to the Pacers 97-87, with Indiana hosting a block party. They swatted away 18 shots, the most in a season opener in NBA history. The Magic played well through three quarters, until Paul George hit a 3 pointer at the end of the quarter to swing momentum, helping the Pacers pull away.
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn weighed in on his team’s performance.
“I think overall, just especially the first half, the way we started out, they gave us their best punch, and we were resilient. We answered. We kept our composure. We kept them in the 20s, scoring wise, and we did a good job.”
The main attraction for the Magic was the number two overall pick in this year’s draft, Victor Oladipo. In 23 minutes of play, Oladipo had 12 points on 4 of 11 shooting. He added three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Oladipo says it was fun to play.
“This all doesn’t come overnight. I just got here,” he said. “This is my first NBA game. It’s not all going to be perfect. It’s not all going to be set in stone. I just have to be patient and continue to keep growing.”
Head coach Jacque Vaughn also discussed Oladipo’s performance.
“I think overall he was good. This is a tough atmosphere for him to be at where school was…I think he attacked the rim for us, got to the free throw line and made some good plays tonight,” Vaughn said.
The Magic will look to pick up their first win of the season when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday at 8 p.m.
In Miami, the Heat opened up the season by raising a banner and receiving championship rings for the second consecutive season before going on to handle their rival, the Chicago Bulls.
Bulls guard Derrick Rose saw his first regular season game action since he tore his ACL in April 2012. Rose struggled against the stout Heat defense, scoring 12 points on 4 of 15 shooting. Despite looking as fast and as explosive as he did pre-injury, his shots just wouldn’t fall.
Chicago Bulls center and Gator Joakim Noah, known for his hatred towards the Miami Heat, discussed how the Heat contained Rose, and what the Bulls could have done differently to help him.
“They did a good job of trapping him on every pick and roll, and we have to do a better job, when they’re trapping him like that, it should be easy offense for us, getting easy baskets because they’re doubling him every time he’s coming off the pick and roll,” Noah said.
Heat forward LeBron James also weighed in on Rose’s return to the court.
“I don’t think it was a bad game for him. He was just a little out of rhythm, turned the ball over a few times,” James said. “When he’s on the floor, he’s impactful. You have to pay close attention to him, and we’re trying to make it tough on him. We’re trying to make it tough on everyone.”
The game wasn’t all about the defense, as the Heat showed great balance on the offensive side of the ball. The Heat had 26 assists on 37 made field goals. The great job sharing the ball was evident in the scoring column, as seven players scored at least 11 points.
The Heat will look to fine tune their game and improve to 2-0 early in the season on Wednesday when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m.
For sound from the games, click below.