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James to make Lakers debut in Portland

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Oregon -- It's not going to be just a game when the Los Angeles Lakers invade Moda Center Thursday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the regular-season opener for both teams.

It will be a happening.

It's the first game in the splendid 16-year NBA career of LeBron James that the future Hall of Famer will be wearing the uniform of a Western Conference club -- the Lakers, with whom he signed a free-agent contract during the offseason.


G League to offer $125K to top prospects

MIAMI (AP) The G League is planning to offer an option to players who are not yet eligible for the NBA draft a chance to turn pro out of high school and avoid the college one-and-done route.

Players will be eligible to sign a "select contract" if they turn 18 by Sept. 15 prior to the season that they would spend in the G League. The $125,000 contracts will be made available to elite prospects. The league said Thursday it is establishing a working group to identify players who could be offered the contract.


Leonard has 24 in debut to lead Raptors

TORONTO (AP) Kawhi Leonard helped the Toronto Raptors extend their success in season-opening games.

Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his Toronto debut, Kyle Lowry scored 27 points and the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-104 on Wednesday night, extending their streak of opening-night victories to six.


Davis, Mirotic help Pelicans rip Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Anthony Davis couldn't help but notice James Harden's freshly minted MVP trophy sitting at midcourt before a ceremony during warmups on Wednesday night.

After Harden hoisted the trophy for the first time before the Toyota Center home crowd and received a few MVP chants throughout the night, Davis began to make an MVP case of his own.


DeRozan leads Spurs past Wolves, Butler

SAN ANTONIO (AP) DeMar DeRozan responded to a trade he didn't want with his usual boundless energy and fearless style in the fourth quarter for San Antonio. Jimmy Butler hasn't received a trade he's requested, and turned in a similar performance for Minnesota.

DeRozan had 28 points in his San Antonio debut, LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and 19 rebounds and the Spurs overcame a 23-point performance by Butler in a 112-108 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night in a matchup of teams coming off a tumultuous offseason.


Mitchell's big 4th helps Jazz beat Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Donovan Mitchell wasn't happy with Utah's sporadic defense and neither was coach Quin Snyder.

Good thing the Jazz had plenty of scoring options to make up for it.


Pacers roll to largest opening-night win

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan kept asking his team to focus on defense and rebounding during the offseason.

He witnessed the results of both Wednesday night.


Bucks overcome Walker's 41, edge Hornets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Tony Parker said he'd never seen anything like it in his 18 seasons in the NBA.

The Charlotte Hornets went small ball - like really, really small ball -during a stretch to start the fourth quarter and nearly overcame a 20-point deficit before falling 113-112 to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.


Bamba, Gordon lead Magic over Heat

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Mohamed Bamba made a big impact in his first NBA game.

Orlando's 7-foot rookie dunked twice and blocked a shot during a 9-0 fourth quarter run, and the Magic held on for a 104-101 win over the Miami Heat in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.


Booker's late surge lifts Suns past Mavs

PHOENIX (AP) Much of the talk going into the Dallas-Phoenix season opener centered on rookies Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic.

But it was Devin Booker's show, providing impressive evidence why the Suns thought him worth that five-year, $158 million deal.