CLEVELAND — LeBron James had his 43rd career triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who raised their championship banner before the game, beat the New York Knicks 117-88 on Tuesday night in the NBA season opener.
James scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds and 14 assists in front of a raucous home crowd that was on its feet from the pregame ceremony until late in the game, celebrating the city's first championship in 52 years.
James, who spoke to the crowd before the game, continued his perfect record on ring nights. He was 2-0 when the Miami Heat players were presented with their championship rings.
Irving scored 19 points in the third quarter, when Cleveland used a 20-4 run to take a 74-53 lead. Kevin Love scored 23 for the Cavaliers.
Carmelo Anthony led New York with 19 points and Derrick Rose had 17.
OAKLAND – For a full two years, the Warriors fantasized and fetishized about this night. They analyzed and plotted and planned. They pinned their hopes on the probability they could bring it to life.
And now it’s here. Kevin Durant joining forces with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and most of the core that only 16 months ago won an NBA championship.
In facing the San Antonio Spurs in the season opener Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, the Warriors raise the curtain on a new era of not only their organization but also the NBA itself.
The Spurs, though finally without Tim Duncan, are the NBA’s established elite. The Warriors are new wave. And about to get ever more cutting edge.
The league could not have scripted this any better unless the Cleveland Cavaliers were coming to Oracle.
Warriors by 9
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Tony Parker. No matter what Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and newly acquired Pau Gasol can produce, it won’t generate much of advantage of Curry is roasting Parker. There was a time this was a marquee matchup. Curry now is primed to dictate the game.
Warriors: C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery) is listed as out.
Spurs: G Danny Green (L quad strain) is listed as out.
The Warriors last season won three of four, and have won four of the last six overall. Prior to that the Warriors had lost 21 of 23. San Antonio has lost three straight in Oakland.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1) It’s two great coaches and a clash of styles, with the Warriors operating best with a relatively small lineup that speeds up the pace and the Spurs built to play big and control tempo. Which team will be able to impose its will?
2) Durant’s debut is the most anticipated in Warriors history; yes, even more than that of Chris Webber in 1993. The excitement level in the building will be ultra-high. How long will it take for Durant and his teammates to settle into the game?
3) Will the Spurs know how to act if Tim Almighty Duncan is not on the court or the bench or anywhere on the roster?