Erstwhile D’Tigers player Ime Udoka made history as he became the first Nigerian to coach an NBA team when his Boston Celtics side took to the court on opening night against the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden.
The Nigerian coach could only watch his side lose narrowly 138-134 against their opponents on NBA opening night, but his playing pattern was visible to the observers. Udoka made his players move the ball around quickly and concentrate on reducing turnovers in preseason, and the training was evident on opening night as it took double OT for his side to lose. Jaylen Brown led the scoring for Udoka’s side with 46 points, and Jayson Tatum scored 20.
Rookies Ayo Dosunmu, Usman Garuba and Charles Bassey all made their senior bows on the NBA opening night after being drafted over the summer.
21-year-old Dosunmu appeared for a stacked Chicago Bulls side that defeated the Detroit Pistons 94-88. Dosunmu contributed seven points and two rebounds in only 11 minutes on the court.
Usman Garuba was on the losing side as his Houston Rockets side lost 124-106 to D’Tigers ace Josh Okogie and his Minnesota Timberwolves side on opening night. Garuba tallied four points with two rebounds and an assist in only eight minutes on the court on his NBA debut. Okogie had six points and five rebounds for the Timberwolves.
Fellow rookie Charles Bassey made his NBA bow with a brief cameo off the bench for the Philadelphia 76ers in their 117-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on NBA opening night. The youngster recorded two points and two rebounds despite only being on the court for two minutes.
D’Tigers were well-represented on opening night, with Precious Achiuwa recording six points, seven rebounds and two assists for the Toronto Raptors in their 98-83 loss to the Washington Wizards. Miye Oni also made a brief appearance off the bench for Utah Jazz as he was on the court for only two minutes in their match against the Oklahoma City Thunder.