The Dallas Mavericks opened a two-game series with a 115-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, whose eight-time all-star Anthony Davis was rusty on his return from injury.
Luka Doncic had 30 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who are seventh in the Western Conference but are now without Kristaps Porzingis after the Latvian sprained his left ankle in the third quarter.
Davis, returning after 30 games off the court with heel and right calf concerns, contributed just four points in the 17 minutes he played during the first half before moving to the bench for the defending champions.
Zion Williamson poured in 23 points in as many minutes in his first game against the Orlando Magic, with the New Orleans Pelicans dominating in a 135-100 display that snapped their four-game losing streak.
The Phoenix Suns dropped to second spot in the west after being bested 99-86 by the Boston Celtics, whose guard Kemba Walker matched his season-high score with 32 points which included five three-pointers.
A strong start helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 124-117 win which was their fourth in a row against top eastern rivals the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks held their lead throughout and at one point were up by 21, with Giannis Antetokounmpo finishing with 27 for the victors.
The San Antonio Spurs moved to ninth in the west and closer to the post-season after they broke a five-game losing streak at home with a 106-91 effort against the Detroit Pistons.
The Chicago Bulls went on a 13-0 run in the third quarter to claim their third win in four games by downing the Charlotte Hornets 108-91.