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Mills hot while Exum, Ingles lose in NBA

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

A three-point blitz from Australian point guard Patty Mills has helped the San Antonio Spurs bury the All-Star laden Golden State Warriors in their NBA regular season opener.

The Spurs won 129-100 on the Warriors' home court, an embarrassing start for the NBA favourites after signing prized free agent Kevin Durant.

The Warriors missed the steel screens, passing and rim protection from veteran Australian centre Andrew Bogut, who they were forced to off-load to the Dallas Mavericks to clear salary space for Durant.

While the Warriors struggled despite Durant joining forces with the Warriors' three All-Stars Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the Spurs were machine-like.

For the first time in 19 seasons the Spurs were without their great big man Tim Duncan, who retired at the end of last season.

"We have a youthful team right now and we just have to take steps each and every day to get better," said Spurs' All-Star Kawhi Leonard who had 35 points, five rebounds and five steals.

Mills, who had 11 points, buried two of his three three-pointers in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, extending the Spurs' lead, snuffing out the Warriors and beginning the early exit of fans from Oracle Arena.

Former NBA D-League guard Jonathan Simmons was also sensational off the bench with 20 points and a big block on Curry that also stunted the Warriors' attempts for a comeback.

The loss is a thud compared to the Warriors' record last season when they won their first 24 games, broke the NBA regular season record with 73 wins before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in game seven of the NBA Finals.

Australian duo Dante Exum and Joe Ingles started their season with a loss after their Utah Jazz fell 113-104 to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Jazz had an 85-77 lead early in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, but Portland's Damian Lillard, with 39 points, was electric in front of his home crowd and steered his team to victory.

Exum, in his first regular season game after missing 2015/16 with a torn ACL, had five points from eight minutes on the court and Ingles added two points in 14 minutes.

The defending champion Cavaliers were impressive in their first outing.

After receiving their 2015/16 season championship rings in a pre-game ceremony in front of their home crowd, the Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 117-88, with LeBron James scoring a triple double of 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds while Kyrie Irving buried 29 points.

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