Russell Westbrook has a NIGHTMARE debut for the Lakers as Lebron James and Co lose on opening night to the Golden State Warriors... while Giannis Antetokounmpo stars for defending champions Milwaukee Bucks against the Brooklyn Nets
Russell Westbrook was told to 'go home and watch a comedy' by LeBron James after enduring a nightmare start to life as a Los Angeles Laker following defeat by the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers assembled an All-Star cast of talent on their roster over the summer with Westbrook arriving from the Washington Wizards as the point-guard.
But having shot just four of 13 from the field on opening night against Golden State in a 121-114 loss, all eyes were on Westbrook and his struggles to co-exist alongside James and Anthony Davis.
'We just want him to be himself, be aggressive, be Russell Westbrook, be the guy that we traded for,' Davis said afterwards, having revealed the trio spoke openly in the locker room after the defeat.
'Once he does that, everyone else will figure out how to play around him. It's a learning experience.'
James felt the former Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets guard was 'too hard on himself' having finished with eight points, four assists and five rebounds from 35 minutes of play.
James starred with 34 points and 11 rebounds, while Davis had 33 points and 11 rebounds. No other Lakers managed to score in double figures.
'I told Russ to go home and watch a comedy,' James said. 'Put a smile on his face. Don't be so hard on himself.'
While the issues of chemistry and natural on-court fit proved glaring for the Lakers on opening night, it was a Steph Curry triple-double that set a Klay Thompson-less Warriors on their way to victory.
Curry, a two-time MVP, had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Warriors, who rallied from 10 points down to take victory.
As the Lakers went cold in the fourth quarter, surrendering their lead halfway through the final period, Curry took over.
He first made three free throws in the closing seconds of the third quarter after he was fouled taking a 3-pointer, before Jordan Poole and Damion Lee both hit 3-pointers of their own early in the fourth.
'We kept our composure and didn't turn the ball over in the second half, which was a huge benefit to just maintaining the pace and giving ourselves some looks,' Curry said.
'But the fact that everybody who was on the floor contributed in a meaningful way kind of speaks to our depth and how we want to play going forward. We're excited about that and it's good to be 1-0.'
Elsewhere Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks ensured their prestigious ring ceremony was capped off with an impressive - and dominant - win over title favourites Brooklyn Nets.
Rocked by the absence of Kyrie Irving over his vaccination stance - despite the shooting guard being eligible for away games - the Nets lost three of the four quarters at the Fiserv Forum and found themselves overwhelmed by Antetokounmpo, who finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.
'We're part of history,' Antetokounmpo said.
'I'm excited. But now it's over with. We've got to focus on building good habits, keep moving forward and keep playing good basketball and hopefully we can repeat this again this year, next year and all the years that we're going to be here down the road.'
Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton each added 20 points to help the Bucks withstand the loss of Jrue Holiday, who sat out the second half with a bruised right heel after scoring 12 points. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer later said MRI results on Holiday were encouraging.
Kevin Durant led the Nets with 32 points and 11 rebounds. Patty Mills scored 21 points and shot 7 of 7 from 3-point range on his Nets debut. James Harden added 20 points but it was not enough.
'We weren't very good,' Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said.
'If you're not playing at a high level against the champs, you're not going to win.'