MAVERICKS 105, HEAT 94
DALLAS — LeBron James and the Miami Heat couldn’t keep the Dallas Mavericks from winning the most recent NBA championship. They did a nice job, however, of getting the Mavs’ title defense off to an ugly start.
James had 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Heat beat the Mavericks 105-94 Sunday in a game that was hardly ever as close as the final score might suggest.
The newly minted champs were down by 15 after one quarter, 21 at halftime, and 35 a few minutes into the second half. Miami scored at least 30 points in each of the first three quarters.
Dwyane Wade had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Heat cemented their status as the preseason favorite to win it all. Udonis Haslem added nine points and 14 rebounds.
Jason Terry led Dallas with 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 in three quarters. Shawn Marion scored 12, and Delonte West added 10 in his Dallas debut.
BULLS 88, LAKERS 87
LOS ANGELES — Derrick Rose scored 22 points and hit a short go-ahead jumper with 4.8 seconds to play, and the Bulls rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes.
Luol Deng scored 21 points and blocked Kobe Bryant’s short shot right before the buzzer as the Bulls hung on for a thrilling finish to both clubs’ first-ever Christmas meeting.
Bryant scored 28 points and committed eight turnovers while playing with a torn wrist ligament for the Lakers, who nearly shook off their tumultuous preseason for a surprising win. Instead, Los Angeles was outscored 17-5 in the final 3:36.
KNICKS 106, CELTICS 104
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points, including a pair of free throws with the game tied and 16 seconds left, and New York survived a seesaw season opener to beat Boston.
Amare Stoudemire added 21 points, and Toney Douglas had 19 for the Knicks, who led by 17 in the first half, trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, then pulled out a thrilling Christmas victory in the delayed opener to the 2011-12 season.
Rajon Rondo had 31 points and 13 assists, nearly leading the Celtics back without an injured Paul Pierce. But Kevin Garnett missed a jumper just before the buzzer, the kind of shot Boston always seems to make against the Knicks.
Brandon Bass had 20 points and 11 rebounds in his Celtics debut, and Ray Allen added 20 points.
Garnett finished with 15 points.
THUNDER 97, MAGIC 89
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 30 points to help the Thunder win their season opener with a victory over the Magic.
Durant led the league in scoring the past two seasons, including averaging 27.7 last season. On Sunday, he was 11-of-19 from the field and added five rebounds and six assists.
James Harden added 19 points and the Thunder held Orlando star Dwight Howard to just 11 points.
The Thunder lost to Dallas last year in the Western Conference finals but are expected to one of the top teams this season.
Ryan Anderson scored 25 points and Jameer Nelson added 18 for the Magic.
CLIPPERS 105, WARRIORS 86
OAKLAND, Calif. — Prize acquisition Chris Paul had 20 points and nine assists in his much-anticipated Clippers debut, Blake Griffin added 22 points and seven rebounds and Los Angeles beat Golden State to spoil Mark Jackson’s opener as a first-time coach.
Monta Ellis had 15 points and eight assists after his grandmother’s death earlier in the day in Mississippi and David Lee added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors, who cut the Clippers’ lead to 78-77 with 9:35 left on Brandon Rush’s 3-pointer before Los Angeles pulled away.