Myles Turner will go into the NBA's history books.
Turner's dunk off a pass from Indiana Pacers All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton 19 seconds into Friday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first basket scored in the history of the NBA's in-season tournament, which began with a slate of seven group stage games.
After years of debate over the possibility of the NBA having a tournament -- modeled off the ones that take place in European soccer and basketball leagues -- the long-time pet project of commissioner Adam Silver became a reality Friday. The slate of seven games marked the first of seven days of group stage games across the month of November, including the next three Fridays along with Nov. 14, 21 and 28. The tournament will see all 30 NBA teams play four games against groups drawn together based off last year's standings.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, speaking after his team's dramatic win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, said he was a fan of the tournament and credited the league for bringing intensity to the early part of the regular season.
"We talk about this in-season tournament and it's a playoff game," Green said. "It was a fun game to play in. The intensity level was there. It's a job well done to the NBA, adding this type of excitement in November, because there be some dark days in November, but you get games like this, you can appreciate them. It was great."
With Friday marking the first in-season tournament games, there also were a variety of firsts and records being set.
Among them included:
In an Eastern Conference Group C game in Chicago, meanwhile, Bulls forward Patrick Williams was moved out of the starting lineup by coach Billy Donovan in favor of Torrey Craig after the former No. 4 overall pick had a disastrous start to the season. But while Williams was better Friday night, it wasn't enough for the Bulls to avoid losing 109-107 to the Brooklyn Nets. The game ended withZach LaVine missing a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.Dorian Finney-Smith had 21 points to lead Brooklyn, while LaVine and DeMar DeRozan each had 24 for the Bulls.
Miami, meanwhile, snapped a four-game losing streak with a 121-111 home victory over Washington in an Eastern Conference Group B game. The Heat got 24 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists from Tyler Herro.
Brunson finished as the high-scorer of the day with those 45 points, and Lopez led the way with eight blocks.
Other stats category leaders included Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who had 15 rebounds; Haliburton, Warriors guard Chris Paul and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who each had 13 assists; and Wizards guard Jordan Poole, Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane, who each had four steals.