Dallas stuns loaded Lakers in opener
LOS ANGELES — Darren Collison scored 17 points, Brandan Wright added 14, and the Dallas Mavericks spoiled the Lakers debuts of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash with a 99-91 victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday.
O.J. Mayo had 12 points as the revamped Mavericks pulled off a stunner in their opener, comfortably beating the star-studded Lakers without any help from injured Dirk Nowitzki.
Kobe Bryant scored 22 points while playing on an injured right foot, but the Lakers opened a season of enormous expectations with a major dud of a performance.
Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds while missing 11 of his 14 free throws before fouling out with 2:02 to play. Nash managed just seven points and four assists with seemingly little to do in the Lakers’ new offensive scheme.
Pau Gasol had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, whose loaded lineup followed up its 0-8 preseason with a largely lifeless second-half effort in front of a sellout crowd expecting to see a super team capable of contending for the franchise’s 17th championship — a fact acknowledged by Bryant when he addressed the fans before the game.
“As you know, we have a lot of expectations this season,” Bryant said. “We’re trying to live up to the expectations. We’re trying to bring another championship back to where it belongs, back to Los Angeles.”
Instead, the Lakers showed how much work they will have to do. Dallas steadily pulled away to a 16-point lead in the second half, never allowing any serious runs by their disjointed, disorganized opponents.
Los Angeles’ starting five barely played together during the first winless preseason in franchise history, and that lack of familiarity showed on almost every possession. The Lakers lost their opener for just the fourth time in the last 21 years. Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois scored 11 points apiece for the Mavericks, who snapped a six-game skid against the Lakers over the past two seasons.
Heat 120, Celtics 107
MIAMI — LeBron James had 26 points and 10 rebounds despite missing much of the second half with leg cramps, Dwyane Wade scored 29 points and the NBA champion Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics.
Ray Allen, in his first game with Miami since leaving Boston over the summer, added 19 points for the Heat, as did Chris Bosh. Miami handed out its championship rings and raised the banner commemorating last season in a pregame ceremony replete with an indoor fireworks show.
Paul Pierce scored 23 points, Rajon Rondo finished with 20 points and 13 assists, and Leandro Barbosa scored 16 for Boston.
CAVS 94, WIZARDS 84
CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, Anderson Varejao had a career-high 23 rebounds, and Cleveland opened the season with a win over short-handed Washington.
Rookie Dion Waiters added 17 points for the Cavs, who led by 16 in the third quarter but needed big plays from Irving and Varejao in the final minutes to hold off the Wizards. Varejao had nine points and a career-high nine assists, two setting up dunks by Tristan Thompson in the last two minutes.
Jordan Crawford scored 11 points to lead the Wizards, who were without star point guard John Wall, power forward Nene and forward Kevin Seraphin. Wall, the former No. 1 overall pick, is expected to be out until late November with a knee injury.