Ralph Sampson had 18 points and 13 rebounds in his NBA regular-season debut, and teammate Lewis Lloyd scored 28 as the Rockets defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 106-100, yesterday in the opener for both teams in Houston.
Sampson, three-time college player of the year at Virginia, matched up mostly with veteran Artis Gilmore (16 points and 10 rebounds).
"I didn't stand out. The win stands out," Sampson said. "We got one. We're just going to go on to the next one now. I just played hard and tried to do the easy things to win. I think I did some of the things I wanted to do, and there were some things I didn't do."
The Rockets, who won 14 of 82 games last season, had their largest opening-game attendance in their 17 seasons--14,116 at the Summit.
Lloyd, who spent last season with Golden State, gave the Rockets the lead for good, 99-98, with 2:20 remaining. He then made two field goals for a 103-98 margin with a minute left.
Lloyd also had 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Sampson had four blocked shots and three assists. The game's largest lead was 76-69 by the Spurs in the third quarter. There were 29 lead changes and 13 ties.