Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is Golden State's starting point guard, reigning NBA MVP, and opening night's First Star. He didn't lead his team in blocks or in total rebounds, but he did in everything else. He lit up the scoreboard for a total of 40 points on 14-for-26 shooting, draining five-of-12 from outside and making all seven of his foul shots in 35:37 of floor time. He also grabbed three rebounds on each end of the floor, dished out seven helpers, and stole the ball twice in the Warriors' 111-95 win over the New Orleans Pelicans in Oracle Arena in Oakland. His GameScore nearly doubled his nearest competition, ending up at 36.3.
Even just Game 1 of the finals it was just a different feeling. All that really prepared us to be able to stay in the moment, enjoy the celebration and the ceremony, have fun, joke, dance, all that stuff, but then lock in and focus on the game. It would be disappointing to leave out of here 0-1 with a ring as opposed to 1-0. The mood is a lot better and we want to keep that vibe going. - Curry
Dennis Schroder - Atlanta Hawks
Schroder led his team in scoring, but just barely as the Hawks dropped their opener to the Detroit Pistons by a 106-94 final at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Not even one of Atlanta's starting five, he came off the bench and sunk eight-of-14 overall from the field, hitting two of his five three-point attempts and both of his foul shots in a team-fifth 25:22 on the floor. His 19.5 GameScore was helped by his 20 point total, along with his four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
They were very good tonight. We weren't. We get to go to work tomorrow. - Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer
LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
James did a lot for the Cavs last night, but not quite enough as the group lost their opener on the road to the Chicago Bulls, 97-95. James had an average night (for him) with a double-double, scoring 25 points with 10 rebounds (all defensive), five assists and a steal. He missed all three of his shots from the charity stripe and made only one of his five long-ball attempts, but was nearly automatic from inside the arc, going 11-for-17. His 19.2 GameScore was pretty middle of the road, but only for him. His last field goal attempt was blocked by Pau Gasol with just 10 seconds remaining.
We gave ourselves a chance to win. That's all you can ask. - James
Ish Smith - New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans, with a large portion of the credit to our first star, lost by 16 points on opening night. The brightest spot in an unfortunate night for them would have to be reserve point guard journeyman Ish Smith. Smith has played with nine teams in just six seasons in the NBA, but if last night was any indication of the future then he may have found a home. He led all players with 38:01 and scored 17 points on seven-of-13 shooting. He added nine assists, three steals and two rebounds.
Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons
Drummond led the Pistons with 37:09 on the floor, and earned his 18.1 GameScore mainly on the strength of his rebounding, with eight on the offensive end and 11 more in defense. He hit 6-for-16 shots, all of the two point variety, and made six-of-10 from the stripe, adding three assists and two blocks as the Pistons finished on top of the Hawks by 14.
We rebounded the hell out of the ball. Our guys really worked. - Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy
Check back throughout the season as we focus the spotlight on the best of the best, and tonight at 7:30 PM EST for the HHH live gamethread against the Charlotte Hornets.