Just for starters: Pelicans rout Rockets in opener

Carmelo Anthony Rockets

Rockets' Carmelo Anthony: Coming Off The Bench "Challenging Mentally"

Houston went 3-1 against New Orleans last season and had won 11 of the past 14 meetings entering Wednesday.

The Pelicans' dominating win in front of a crowd of 18,000 at Toyota Center arena in Texas was one of 11 games in the first full night of the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season.

The early returns were encouraging for Anthony, whose first field goal attempt was an off-dribble jumper just inside the 3-point arc, which is typically the kind of shot that D'Antoni discourages. We can probably expect at least a modest dip after Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza left via free agency.

D'Antoni, who clashed with Anthony about offensive philosophy during their brief time together with the New York Knicks but has long since buried the hatchet, expressed appreciation for the forward's willingness to accept a reserve role. It helps that New Orleans' bigs are all capable of grabbing the ball off the rim and taking off the other way. Can Anthony Davis stay healthy and lead them to the postseason?

The Rockets possessed the NBA's best offense last season, and also showed a knack for defense as well, and Houston should be at, or near the top in both categories again in 2018-19. Chris Paul has made a name for himself by putting his teammates in position to succeed.

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Watching intently from the sideline was Anthony Davis. Julius Randle wasn't far behind, at 25.0 percent.

Up next for the Rockets: A visit to Los Angeles to face LeBron James and the Lakers on Saturday.

For the Rockets to contend again, their terrible defensive performance against the Pelicans needs to be an aberration.

The Rockets allowed the fifth highest percentage of shots at the rim last season, at 36.0 percent. Three's made up 26.3 percent of the Rockets' made shots last season, and 17.4 percent of the Pelicans' made shots. "Those teams are very good teams but I think everybody is going to have some adjustments they have to make and obviously playing in the West is not easy, but playing in the East is not easy either if you look at the teams there, too". "There'll be some rough spots that we have to get better at but I think the guys physically are in a pretty good spot and we're ready to roll".

Devin Booker scored 19 of his 35 points late in the fourth as the Phoenix Suns dominated the Dallas Mavericks 121-100, with Deandre Ayton (18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) enjoying a debut victory over fellow highly touted rookie Luka Doncic (10 points, eight rebounds, four assists). "Tucker/da7d17aa-f245-4710-820c-99d29a7458b4" class="local_link" target="_blank">P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela against the New Orleans Pelicans. And with DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo moving to other teams, the Pelicans are going to have to develop a new personality this season.

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