By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricky Rubio helped the Phoenix Suns defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 111-106, with 11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal in his new team’s 2019 NBA preseason opener on Tuesday evening. Elie Okobo added 13 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assists and 1 steal at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, fellow European Dario Saric had 4 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist.
First friendly match for the Oklahoma City Thunder as well. They beat the Dallas Mavericks, 119-104, at the BOK Center. Dennis Schroder made a 13-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist contribution, Danilo Gallinari added 10 points and 9 rebounds. On the losing side, Maxi Kleber went for 14 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal and 2 blocks, Boban Marjanovic notched 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, but Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were left out.
Marko Guduric needed only 17 minutes for 14 points including a couple of threes and 1 rebound in other friendly action. The Memphis Grizzlies took down the New Zealand Breakers, 108-94, at the FedExForum. Jonas Valanciunas was held out again due to his foot injury.
The Portland Trail Blazers dropped their preseason opener, but Mario Hezonja went for 12 points in 20 minutes, also tallied 6 rebounds and 2 assists in the 105-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Injured Pau Gasol and Jusuf Nurkic were out. Juan Hernangomez notched 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals for the winning side, Nikola Jokic did not play.
Goran Dragic scored 8 points, added 4 assists and 3 rebounds for the Miami Heat in the 107-89 win versus the San Antonio Spurs at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The opposite side featured Europeans Jakob Poeltl at 8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assists, and Marco Belinelli at 5 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals, but Luka Samanic did not get on the court.
Furkan Korkmaz put up one point, 2 rebounds and 1 assist for the Philadelphia 76ers in the 144-86 victory over the Guangzhou Long-Lions at the Wells Fargo Center. Former NBA player Andrew Nicholson poured a game-high 36 points for the CBA team.