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A quick look at news, notes and what’s making headlines around the league.
1. TNT TONIGHT: TNT’s first Thursday-night doubleheader of the season features the Hawks visiting the Knicks (8 p.m. ET) and the Clippers hosting the Mavericks (10:30 p.m. ET). In the opener, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis, the fourth pick in NBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm, makes his regular-season home debut, and Carmelo Anthony plays his first regular-season home game since last February. In the second game, Los Angeles native Paul Pierce makes his home debut with the Clippers, and Rick Carlisle attempts to stand alone as the winningest coach in Mavericks history. Dallas’ season-opening victory at Phoenix on Wednesday moved Carlisle into a first-place tie with Don Nelson with 339 wins as Mavs coach.
2. INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE: The NBA’s opening-day rosters for the 2015-16 season feature 100 international players from 37 countries, including a record-tying 12 Canadian (most for any country for the second year in a row), 10 French, a record 10 African and a record nine Brazilian players. Opening-night rosters include at least 100 international players for the second consecutive year. Also like last year, all 30 NBA teams have at least one international player. The Raptors have a league-high seven international players, followed by the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Spurs and Jazz with six each.
3. A RECORD DEVELOPMENT: For the third consecutive year, NBA opening-day rosters also showcase a record number of players with NBA Development League experience. An all-time-high 30 percent of players on opening-day rosters – 132 of 446 –are NBA D-League alums. That list includes the 76ers’ Robert Covington, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA D-League Draft, who averaged 13.5 points in 70 games for Philadelphia last season. This year’s NBA D-League Draft will take place via teleconference on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET from league headquarters in New York City. The eight-round event is set to feature more than 200 draft-eligible players.
Stats & Stuff
1. The NBA Development League and Hornets Sports & Entertainment announced this week that the Charlotte Hornets have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team. The team will be located in Greensboro, N.C., and begin play with the 2016-17 season. With the purchase, Charlotte becomes the record 11th NBA team to fully own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate, while the NBA D-League expands to a record 20 teams.
2. With two made field goals, Kobe Bryant (11,329) will pass Shaquille O’Neal for fifth place on the career list. Next up is Michael Jordan, who made 12,192 field goals.
3. The Clippers’ Chris Paul has passed Bob Cousy for 15th place on the career assists list. Paul ranks second among active players with 6,961 assists. Minnesota’s Andre Miller is first with 8,437, putting him ninth all time.
4. Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins made four three-pointers in the Kings’ season opener – which equals his high for an entire season. He entered the 2015-16 season with 11 career three-pointers in five seasons.
Nov. 1, 2000 (15 years ago): Pat Riley won his 1,000th regular-season game, joining Lenny Wilkens as the only coaches to accomplish the feat at the time. Since then, seven other coaches have achieved the mark.
Nov. 3, 1995 (20 years ago): The NBA’s two Canadian expansion teams, the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies, both made successful debuts with victories in their first regular-season games. The Raptors defeated New Jersey 94-79 before a crowd of 33,306 at SkyDome in Toronto, while the Grizzlies beat the Trail Blazers 92-80 in Portland.
Nov. 3, 1995 (20 years ago): Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett made his NBA regular-season debut, scoring eight points (on 4-of-4 shooting from the field) in 16 minutes in a 95-86 loss to Sacramento. The 2015-16 season is Garnett’s 21st in the NBA, matching Robert Parish and Kevin Willis for most all time.
Nov. 2, 1990 (25 years ago): The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 162-158 in Denver. The 320 points remain an NBA record for two teams in a non-overtime game.
What They’re Saying
President Barack Obama: “I just want to thank the NBA because they have been terrific at supporting My Brother’s Keeper. It’s a program to make sure that all of us are supporting disadvantaged youth, and particularly disadvantaged boys. The NBA stepped up. Every team in the league is sponsoring mentorship programs, and wonderful young men like Chris Paul and LeBron [James] and Steph Curry and others have already participated and given their time to some of these initiatives. The First Lady was with LeBron in Akron just a couple of days ago talking about the thousand scholarships he’s given out for kids to go to college. That kind of character we’re seeing in the NBA is really making a difference. I just want to let them know how much I appreciate it.”
Elfrid Payton, Magic guard: “Every community should have a place where kids can go and have a good time and learn the game. The kids are the future and we need to do a good job giving them a chance of being successful.”
Kevin Love, Cavaliers forward: “The cool thing about our team is we have guys from Australia and Russia and Brazil and all over the world and all over the country that are different and have different personalities and bring something else to the table that makes it so fun. Being together for nine months, you learn so much from so many different guys. It makes the locker room that much better.”
— NBA News is a newsletter produced by the NBA Communications Group.