LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs held on for a 107-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night while opening the season without leading scorer Kawhi Leonard.
The Spurs were without Leonard and Tony Parker, but they had enough to hold off the revamped Timberwolves.
Minnesota bolstered its young lineup with the addition of veterans Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague. The quartet helped the Wolves rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but the Timberwolves only managed two field goals after taking a 92-91 lead with 5:02 remaining on an 18-foot jumper by Butler.
Butler finished with 12 points and Crawford had 10. Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 26 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 18.
Aldridge had one of his most complete games with the Spurs, two days after signing a three-year, $72 million extension. He shot 9 for 21 from the field and had four assists.
He was limited to five attempts in the first quarter as the Spurs did not go out of their way to get the ball to their 6-foot-11 forward, but instead let him ease into the contest.
It's part of San Antonio's plans to make Aldridge more comfortable after two frustrating seasons with the Spurs.
Aldridge's running dunk on a bounce pass from Manu Ginobili gave the Spurs a 100-92 lead with 1:42 remaining.
Ginobili finished nine points and four assists, including a 3-pointer within a minute of entering the game midway through the first quarter. Ginobili received a huge ovation similar to the one he got in the team's final game last season when fans were not sure if he would return.
Danny Green added 17 points while shooting 3 for 7 on 3-pointers. Dejounte Murray had 16 points, five rebounds and two assists while starting in place of Parker.
Milwaukee 108, at Boston 100: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks spoiled the homecoming of a Celtics team coming off an emotional opener in which they lost top free agent Gordon Hayward to a gruesome ankle injury. A three-pointer by the Bucks' Matthew Dellavedova with 45 seconds helped seal the win.
at Indiana 140, Brooklyn 131: Former Laker D'Angelo Russell scored a game-high 30 points in his Nets debut, but it wasn't enough to prevent Brooklyn from losing a franchise-record fifth straight season opener. Eight players scored in double figures as the Pacers.
at Washington 120, Philadelphia 115: John Wall scored 28 points and Bradley Beal added 25 as the Wizards spoiled the NBA debuts of Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
at Memphis 103, New Orleans 91: Mike Conley scored 27 points and rookie Dillon Brooks added 19 for the Grizzlies, who won their opener for the second straight year, a first in franchise history. Marc Gasol had 14 points before fouling out with 3:05 left.
at Detroit 102, Charlotte 90: Tobias Harris scored 17 of his 27 points in the first quarter, helping the Pistons celebrate in their new downtown home. Dwight Howard had 10 points in his Hornets debut.
at Orlando 116, Miami 109: Evan Fournier scored 23 points and Nikola Vucevic added 19 as the Magic held on for a win.
Atlanta 117, at Dallas 111: Dennis Schroder scored 28 points in his first game as the front man for the Hawks. Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. had 16 in his Mavericks debut.
at Utah 106, Denver 96: Alec Burks score 12 of his 16 points during a 25-4 run by the Jazz that spanned the third and fourth quarters. Utah's Rudy Gobert added 18 points and 10 rebounds.