Giannis-led Bucks beat Hornets in historic Paris NBA game

NBA Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo drives toward the basket in the first ever NBA regular season game in Paris on Friday. — AFP

PARIS — Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a show with 30 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, lifting the Milwaukee Bucks to a 116-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday in the NBA’s first regular-season game in Paris.

The game had a party feel with Paris Saint-Germain football stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe courtside and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was greeted with thunderous applause when he was presented to the crowd at the AccorHotels Arena.

Michael Jordan, the greatest-ever NBA player who is now the Hornets' chairman, has done more than anyone to spread the sport's popularity around the globe and he told reporters before the game: "I'm glad that I was a part of it but I think it will continually get bigger because of the passion for the game of basketball."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before the game that the NBA would return to Paris for "many more years to come".

The Bucks were sluggish in the first half and trailed the Hornets until the end of the third quarter, when George Hill slashed to the basket for an easy layup and reigning league Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo imposed himself around the rim on the way to his impressive double-double.

Los Angeles Clippers 122 - Miami Heat 117

Kawhi Leonard scored 17 of his game-high 33 points in the crucial third quarter and had his first career triple-double as Los Angeles beat host Miami, which lost for only the second time in 22 home games.

The Heat were led by Jimmy Butler, who had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists before going out with a right-ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Miami was without three rotation players: guard Goran Dragic (calf injury), Kendrick Nunn (Achilles) and Justise Winslow (back).

Leonard, who rested in Los Angeles’ previous game, a loss to the Hawks in Atlanta, also had 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Clippers shooting guard Landry Shamet had 22 points.

Denver Nuggets 113 - New Orleans Pelicans 106

Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and Torrey Craig had double-doubles as Denver won at New Orleans.

Zion Williamson had his second straight strong performance in a losing effort for the Pelicans. The No. 1 overall draft choice had 15 points (on 7-of-9 shooting) and six rebounds in 20 minutes two nights after scoring 22 points in 18 minutes of a loss to San Antonio in his long-awaited NBA debut.

Jokic had 27 points and 12 rebounds, Porter had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Craig had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Hart matched Williamson by scoring 15 for New Orleans.

Boston Celtics 109 - Orlando Magic 98

Kemba Walker scored 37 points, Gordon Hayward added 22 and short-handed Boston surged past host Orlando for its third straight win.

Hayward also had 14 rebounds, and Daniel Theis chipped in 16 points. Boston played without two of its three top scorers in Jayson Tatum (right groin strain) and Jaylen Brown (right ankle sprain), and key reserve Enes Kanter also was out with a right hip contusion.

Evan Fournier had a team-high 30 points, Nikola Vucevic added 17 and 12 rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 12 for the Magic, who lost for the fourth time in their last five.

Memphis Grizzlies 125 - Detroit Pistons 112

Jaren Jackson Jr. had 29 points, Dillon Brooks supplied 27 and visiting Memphis pulled away from Detroit, which was missing center Andre Drummond (lip) and starting wings Bruce Brown and Tony Snell (flu).

Rookie Ja Morant contributed 16 points and 12 assists, Brandon Clarke had 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and De’Anthony Melton added 14 points and five assists for Memphis.

Derrick Rose led Detroit with 22 points and eight assists. Christian Wood contributed 20 points and six rebounds off the bench while Reggie Jackson, Svi Mykhailiuk and Langston Galloway scored 14 points apiece. Thon Maker chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds. — Agencies