John Wall ended his two-year NBA absence as the five-time All-Star made his Houston Rockets bow in preseason.
Not since December 2018 had Wall played a game in the NBA – the star guard missing the last two seasons with injuries to his left Achilles tendon, left knee and left heel.
But Wall returned to the court on Friday after being dealt to the Rockets by the Washington Wizards.
Wall, who was traded by the Wizards along with a protected first-round pick for Russell Westbrook last week, posted 13 points in a 125-104 win over the Chicago Bulls.
"Tonight was just great to be back in an NBA game, period," said Wall, who was six-of-10 shooting against the Bulls in the absence of James Harden as the Rockets superstar reportedly seeks a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets.
Wall also had five rebounds, nine assists and two steals in 19 minutes of action away to the Bulls, after opening the game with an impressive layup.
"I just knew I was back," Wall said. "I know how much hard work I've been through the last two years. It was a surreal moment for me even though it was preseason."
DeMarcus Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Rockets in the offseason, had 14 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks during his 15 minutes.
Feels good to be back! pic.twitter.com/njSLp6yINC— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 12, 2020
"It's step by step with those guys," said first-year Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. "We really didn't know what to expect when those guys walked through the door, both of them coming off of injuries.
"They both played very well tonight. They both looked really good. They were fun. Hopefully, this is something we can build off of, but it's a day-by-day thing."
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Clippers topped city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers 87-81 – a warmup for their opening-night showdown on December 22.
NBA champions the Lakers were without star duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis for their preseason curtain raiser, while Montrezl Harrell had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds against former team the Clippers.
Paul George had 10 points in 14 minutes after signing a new max deal with the Clippers, and team-mate Kawhi Leonard finished with just three points.
The Orlando Magic beat the Atlanta Hawks 116-112, the New York Knicks defeated the Detroit Pistons 90-84 and the Sacramento Kings fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 127-102.