Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Anderson Varejao's tie-breaking jump shot with 28.1 seconds left helped get a promising season for the Cleveland Cavaliers off to a terrific start, while simultaneously spoiling the anticipated unveiling of the Brooklyn Nets' star-studded core. The upstart Cavaliers outplayed the experienced Nets down the stretch to come away with a 98-94 victory at Quicken Loans Arena and make head coach Mike Brown's second tour of duty behind the Cleveland bench a successful return. Tristan Thompson netted 18 points for the Cavs, who haven't won more than 24 games in the three seasons since Brown was fired and LeBron James famously took his talents to South Beach following the 2009-10 season. Kyrie Irving overcame a 4-for-16 shooting display to chip in 15 points, nine assists and several big plays down the stretch to help Cleveland prevail. The Nets made a giant offseason splash by landing perennial All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett along with fellow accomplished veteran Jason Terry in a blockbuster nine-player trade with Boston. However, the expected Eastern Conference contenders couldn't get over the hump in this one after fighting back from a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter. Pierce finished with 17 points and Terry made four shots from beyond the arc in a 14-point effort off the bench. Garnett scored just eight points, but pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds in the loss.
Final Score: Philadelphia 114, Miami 110
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Carter-Williams impressed in his first career game with nine steals, setting a record for the most in an NBA debut, as the Philadelphia 76ers opened their season with a shocking 114-110 win over the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Carter-Williams also had 22 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds in Brett Brown's first game as head coach of the 76ers. Evan Turner led the team in scoring with 26 points, while Spencer Hawes added 24 points and nine rebounds on the night of Philadelphia legend Allen Iverson's retirement. The 76ers' win snapped a string of 15 straight losses to the Heat, which included their last seven in Philadelphia. LeBron James tallied 25 points and 13 assists for Miami, which won convincingly at home over the Bulls in its season debut on Tuesday. Chris Bosh scored 22 points with 10 rebounds, while Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers both contributed four 3-pointers in defeat. The Heat decided to sit All-Star guard Dwayne Wade for precautionary reasons.
Final Score: Toronto 93, Boston 87
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Rudy Gay had 19 points and eight rebounds, Kyle Lowry added 11 points and eight assists and the Toronto Raptors spoiled Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens' NBA debut with a 93-87 win on Wednesday night. Boston's Jeff Green led all scorers with 25 points in the loss. The Celtics trimmed a 12-point halftime deficit with a 23-8 run to tie the game 71-71 heading into the fourth quarter. The back-and-forth affair continued for much of the final frame until Amir Johnson hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring to put the Raptors up by four with just over six minutes to play and they never trailed after that. Toronto's Tyler Hansbrough and Jonas Valanciunas both recorded double digits in rebounds with 12 and 11, respectively. Boston, playing its first game without 15-year veteran Paul Pierce, relied heavily on the efforts of veterans Jeff Green and Brandon Bass down the stretch. They were also without forward Kevin Garnett and sharp- shooter Jason Terry, who both accompanied Pierce to Brooklyn in a draft-night trade for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks.