By Matt Jenkins
---- — Hamilton’s Michael Carter-Williams was historically good in his National Basketball Association debut last night.
Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-6 point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, filled the stat sheet with 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds as the Sixers surprised LeBron James and the Miami Heat, 114-110.
Carter-Williams set an NBA first-game record with nine steals. He also turned the ball over just once against some heavy pressure from the Heat, and he converted a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to seal the victory.
The Sixers started fast, charging out to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter and leading by two (51-49) at the half. Miami took the lead in the third quarter when it hung 45 points on Philly.
The young Sixers made the plays down the stretch, however.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” Carter-Williams told Syracuse.com last night. “I was all excited up in here. I’ll be excited tonight, celebrate with my family and then back to work tomorrow.”
The Sixers made some draft day deals to land both Carter-Williams and Everett’s Nerlens Noel last June. Noel is out with a knee injury, but Carter-Williams showed flashes of what Philly’s future could be.
“He did great. And that’s an understatement,” Sixers guard Evan Turner was quoted as saying on Syracuse.com. “He had a great game. He led us. He played a great all-around game. His poise out there for a young guy was tremendous.”
Carter-Williams, who played one year of high school basketball at Hamilton-Wenham before transferring to St. Andrew’s in Rhode Island, stripped James early in the game and coasted down the court for a layup.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Carter-Williams’ 12 assists were the second most in a debut, second only to Ernie Digregorio of the Buffalo Braves in 1973-74.