Boston 95, Cleveland 89
Studs: Paul Pierce scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, and added 11 rebounds to help the Celtics hold off a hard charging Cavaliers squad. Kevin Garnett also notched a double-double in his first game back since a knee injury ended his '08-'09 season prematurely, while Rajon Rondo posted a Jason Kidd-like line of 8 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals. LeBron James did all he could for Cleveland, totaling 38 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and 4 blocks.
Duds: Cleveland's bench shot just 3-for-11 and contributed just 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Game Notes: Boston jumped out to a one game lead over the Cavs, which is more important because the win took place at Quicken Loans Arena, where Cleveland started 23-0 last season, on their way to a 39-2 home record... It may take some time to incorporate Shaquille O'Neal into the Cavs' system. The big man was 5-for-11 for 10 points and 10 rebounds, but missed some easy looks and only reached the free throw line twice (missing both attempts)... Rasheed Wallace, on the other hand, looked right at home in a Boston jersey. He hit on 3-of-6 3-point attempts on his way to 12 points and was very effective at stretching the floor and creating mismatches.
Washington 102, Dallas 91
Studs: Gilbert Arenas was back on his game for the Wizards, scoring 29 points and adding 9 assists. Washington also got solid contributions from two key reserves, as Andray Blatche posted 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and Randy Foye added 19 points. Dirk Nowitzki led the way for Dallas with 34 points and 9 rebounds, and J.J. Barea added 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists off the Mavericks' bench.
Duds: Drew Gooden was only 1-for-6 from the floor and reigning 6th Man of the Year Jason Terry was just 4-for-15 and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Game Notes: Each team committed just 9 turnovers... Dallas only scored 4 points off of Washington turnovers... Nowitzki and new addition Shawn Marion were very inconsistent for Dallas. Nowitzki started the game 3-for-14 from the floor before finishing 7-of-11 (10-for-25 overall) and Marion started and finished 3-of-3, with an 0-for-6 stretch sandwiched in between (6-for12 overall).
Portland 96, Houston 91
Studs: Travis Outlaw scored a game-high 23 points off the Portland bench and Brandon Roy tallied 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the win. The Rockets got good point guard play, as Aaron Brooks led Houston with 19 points and 5 assists, and Kyle Lowry added 12 points and 8 assists off the bench.
Duds: Houston shot just 37% as a team including 2-for-9 from Shane Battier and 3-for-12 from Carl Landry.
Game Notes: Portland committed 26 team turnovers and was outscored by 8 points on the fast break and 16 in the paint, but won the game behind 10-of-21 3-point shooting, a 20-of-22 effort from the charity stripe, and a +18 rebounding advantage... Andre Miller shot poorly, but posted 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists off the bench in his first game as a Blazer... Portland's centers, Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla had two of the strangest lines you'll ever see. The two combined for 4 points, 22 rebounds, 7 blocks, 9 turnovers, and 11 fouls.
LA Lakers 99, LA Clippers 92
Studs: Kobe Bryant was back to his old tricks, posting 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals, and Andrew Bynum added 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers again won the battle for L.A. Lamar Odom also notched a double-double, with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 21 points and Chris Kaman added a double-double, with 18 points and 16 rebounds, making him the NBA's leading rebounder after day one.
Duds: Baron Davis showed good energy, posting 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and a block, but he only shot 1-for-10 from the floor and failed to get to the free throw line. The Lakers' bench combined for 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Game Notes: The Lakers received their 2009 championship rings and unveiled the franchise's 15th championship banner before the game...Both teams shot below 70% from the free throw line... The Lakers scored 50 points in the paint... Ron Artest scored 10 points on 3-of-10 from the field and 3-of-7 from the charity stripe, and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists in his Lakers debut.