NSFWFC: Sixers Line Up for the Heat in Season Home Opener

NSFWFC: Sixers Line Up for the Heat in Season Home Opener

Poor, poor Michael Carter-Williams. It was already gonna be a struggle for him in his NBA debut--the 22-year-old rookie has game, we think, but it's gonna take a minute for it to translate on this level--but premiering against the Miami Heat, he might try to re-declare for his senior season at Syracuse before the night's over. The blitzing perimeter D of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole (and the hard-trapping help D from their forwards and bigs) brought Linsanity to an end, and ruined Derrick Rose's first game back from ACL surgery last night in Miami, holding the former MVP to just 12 points on 4-15 shooting. Against MCW...there will be tears, for sure.

Of course, that's not to say that the rest of the Sixers' lineup will have it that much easier--Evan Turner has had some nice games against the Heat (including his own debut game, on opening night three seasons ago), but the Liberty Ballers have still won just one of their last 20 against the Heat, and even that one took a miracle three from Lou Williams--you remember the one.

No, the Sixers are not gonna have an easy one tonight, though they will be getting a couple breaks in this one--not only are the Heat on the second to night of a back-to-back after an emotional, hard-fought season opener against Chicago, but they'll be without All-NBA guard Dwyane Wade--though really, all that means is that the Heat will be able to spread the floor better with Ray Allen or James Jones in his stead and let LeBron really pick the Sixers apart. One or two breaks isn't nearly enough to make up the gap in quality between these two teams.

All we can really hope for tonight is for early contention and late survival. If the Sixers can at least keep it close for a quarter or two, get nice performances from Evan and Thaddeus Young, and get MCW the hell out of there before the scarring becomes permanent, then that'll have to count as the moral victory for the evening. Not much, but ti's all we're gonna have for at least our first couple games and possibly a lot longer, so get used to it.

Adding insult to injury (and more insult) tonight is that in Cleveland, it appears that our old friend Andrew Bynum will be bucking the odds and actually playing in the Cavs' season opener (supposedly). Bynum has been cleared for game action, though he will not start, and nobody really has much of a clue what he'll look like out on the court. While I don't necessarily wish eternal misery upon the Bynum household, I'm not gonna deny that I'ma be a little salty if he just straight up plays for this Cleveland team and, like, doesn't miss pretty much the entire season for no real reason. Harumph.

Whatever. We have Sixers basketball, real (mostly) professional basketball, and that's enough excitement in itself for me tonight. Get ready for the big ride tonight, guys, and if you are not sufficiently pumped, get yourself there with our 2013-14 Sixers Official Spotify Playlist. Go Ballers.

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Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).