(Sports Network) - The offseason was filled with grandiose trade rumors concerning both Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, but both superstars stayed put at least for now and led their respective teams to season-opening wins.
Paul was spectacular on Wednesday, scoring 17 points and dishing out 16 assists as the Monty Williams-led Hornets held off the Milwaukee Bucks, 95-91, in the season opener for both teams in New Orleans.
David West scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Marco Belinelli, who spent last season with the Raptors, added 18 points and six boards for the Hornets during the head coaching debut of former Portland assistant Williams, the NBA's youngest head coach. Trevor Ariza added 11 points in his Hornets debut.
"We've been preaching it and now our guys are starting to believe," Williams said. "I know it's only one game, but when you hold a team like that to 91 points and force them to shoot 34 percent from the three, I know they got eight threes but they were contested threes. The thing that I was pleased with the most was that we only turned the ball over nine times."
The Nuggets, meanwhile, blitzed division rival Utah in their opener in Denver on Wednesday. Anthony scored 23 points and added seven rebounds in that one as the Nuggets earned a dominating 110-88 win over the Jazz.
"I'm here," Anthony said after the game. "Tonight, I was excited about this game. I can't control what happens out there. Whatever happens, is going to happen. The fans, they want to see basketball. They don't want drama."
The game was a rematch of a first-round playoff series from last season, which Utah won in six games. But the Nuggets came out on top Wednesday thanks in large part to 22 points from Arron Afflalo, along with 16 rebounds and eight points from the newly acquired Shelden Williams.
Denver also played with head coach George Karl back on the bench. Karl missed the end of last season as he battled neck and throat cancer.
"I don't know if there was one moment (that stood out) other than just the appreciation of the players," Karl told the team's website. "I told the players before the game that their friendship and their togetherness over the summer helped me want to get back."
The Nuggets have won three straight over the Hornets and are a perfect 6-0 when Anthony scores 30-or-more points against them.