James Harden on Houston Rockets’ new backcourt: ‘It’s gonna work’

Gordon Hayward, a key part of the Celtics’ 2017-18 campaign, suffered a fractured left ankle on opening night in Cleveland.

The 6-8 swingman, who signed with Boston as a free agent during the summer, came down awkwardly after a mistimed alley-oop. The injury was immediately apparent and play was stopped so medical staff could attend to him.

The Houston Rockets begin their quest for a banner season with a new-look backcourt featuring All-Stars James Harden and Chris Paul. When the Rockets acquired Paul in what turned out the be the first of many blockbuster moves in the Western Conference, the rumbling for some began about whether or not Paul and Harden could coexist.

As tonight’s season-opener against the Golden State Warriors approaches for Houston, ESPN.com delivered a must-read, behind-the-scenes look at Paul’s move to Houston via Jackie MacMullan. In it, Harden, Paul and coach Mike D’Antoni open up about how they plan to make this star guard combination work in 2017-18.

In the aftermath of the trail of bodies left behind by the Golden State Warriors, who crowned one of the most dominant seasons of this generation by thumping LeBron James last summer, folks freaked out.

Rather than retreat and recoil, a handful of NBA contenders regrouped, emphasis on grouped. Yes, almost collectively, these teams decided not to roll over and surrender the next championship to the Warriors. They engaged in a frantic arms race in the offseason, snapping up future Hall of Famers, doubling and even tripling up on superstars, fortifying the roster and in some cases shoving all of their chips to the center of the table.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are hours away from tipping off the 2017-18 season. Whether or not LeBron James will be in the lineup at opening tip remains unknown.

James, who has been nursing an ankle injury suffered early in training camp, has been mostly day-to-day for the Cavs as they wrapped up their preseason slate. He played 30 minutes in an Oct. 10 loss to the Chicago Bulls, but was a spectator for the rest of Cleveland’s games.

Booker led the Suns with 22.1 points per game last season, the third-highest scoring average ever posted by a player 20-years-old-or-younger at season’s end, behind only LeBron James in 2004-05 and Kevin Durant in 2008-09. The 13th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Booker’s 2,774 total points through his first two seasons trail only James, Durant and Carmelo Anthony for the fourth-most ever by an NBA player before his 21st birthday.

Bender averaged 7.2 points and 7.0 rebounds this preseason, after averaging 3.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and cheap nba jerseys and 0.51 blocks in 43 appearances as a rookie last season, missing 31 games to a right ankle injury. The 4th overall pick and youngest player in the 2016 NBA Draft, Bender averaged 14.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Suns at NBA Summer League 2017 in Las Vegas, and also played for Croatia’s national team at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 this past summer.

Officiating reports will now be provided for all games in which the score is within three points at any time in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or the last two minutes of any overtime period. Previously, Last Two Minute Reports were shared for all games within five points at the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter or any overtime period.

The NBA is also introducing a new structure for Last Two Minute Reports that better depicts game situation. For the 2017-18 season, all calls and material non-calls will be grouped by possession (see an example here). In the past, all officiated events were listed in a play-by-play format.