In the first sporting event in New York since Superstorm Sandy, the Knicks dominated a game the Heat players weren't sure should even be played with the city still so devastated. But the Knicks hoped they could provide a distraction for a few hours, and fans who were able to watch surely loved what they saw from a team that could barely compete with Miami last season.
Steve Novak, a non-factor against the Heat in last season's playoffs, added 17 points off the bench and Raymond Felton had 14 points and nine assists to begin his second stint with the Knicks.
LeBron James scored 23 points for the Heat, so impressive in a season-opening victory over Boston on Tuesday but never really in this one. Dwyane Wade, who thought the game should be postponed, finished with 15 points and Chris Bosh had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Heat beat the Knicks in five games in last season's first round, and at least for one night New York appears to have closed the gap on the champs.
CLIPPERS 105, LAKERS 95
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul had 18 points and 15 assists, Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers to send their Staples Center co-tenants to an 0-3 start.
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points and Dwight Howard had 13 points and eight rebounds while battling constant foul trouble for the Lakers, who are 0-3 for the first time since 1978 and just the fourth time in franchise history.
Steve Nash sat out with a bruised left leg for the Lakers, who have followed up their 0-8 preseason with three losses in four days.
Blake Griffin scored 15 points before fouling out and Caron Butler had 14 for the Clippers, who pulled away steadily in the second half.
The Clippers snapped a nine-game "road" losing streak against the Lakers dating to April 12, 2007.
BOBCATS 90, PACERS 89
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored a career-high 30 points in Mike Dunlap's coaching debut and Charlotte snapped a 23-game losing streak with a victory over Indiana.
The Bobcats lost their final 23 games last season to finish 7-59, the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history, prompting owner Michael Jordan to proclaim the franchise had "hit rock bottom."
But the Bobcats, playing with a newfound aggressiveness on defence under Dunlap — they forced 19 turnovers — started this season strong against a Pacers team that won 19 of 33 road games last season.
Gerald Henderson added 18 points for the Bobcats and Ramon Sessions chipped in 11, including a big 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
The teams combined to score just two points in the final 3:27. D.J. Augustin, who left the Bobcats in the off-season, missed a jumper from the wing as time expired.
Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 15 points each. Indiana played without forward Danny Granger, the team's leading scorer the past five seasons. He is sidelined indefinitely with soreness in his left knee.
ROCKETS 109, HAWKS 102
ATLANTA (AP) — James Harden continued to shine at the start of his Houston career, scoring a career-high 45 points to lead the Rockets over Atlanta.
Harden, traded to the Rockets from Oklahoma City on Saturday, topped 30 points for the second time in his first week with his new team.
Jeremy Lin had 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Marcus Morris had 17 points for Houston.
Rockets centre Omer Asik had a career-high 19 rebounds but did not score, missing seven shots from the field.
Lou Williams led the Hawks with 22 points in his Atlanta debut. Josh Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
With the game tied 92-all, Harden had consecutive baskets, including a three-point play, to give Houston the lead for good. Harden was 14 of 19 from the field and 15 of 17 from the free throw line.
THUNDER 106, TRAIL BLAZERS 92
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 32 points, Kevin Durant had 23 points and 17 rebounds, and Oklahoma City beat Portland to win its fourth straight home opener.
Kevin Martin, taking over James Harden's role as the top-scoring bench player, added 19 points as Oklahoma City pulled away in the fourth quarter. Martin hit a 3-pointer and a runner during an 11-2 spurt that extended the Thunder's lead to 95-81 with 4:05 remaining.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 22 points and 15 rebounds and first-round pick Damian Lillard followed a sizzling debut with 21 points and seven assists.
The Trail Blazers were unable to follow up their surprising opening win against the Los Angeles Lakers, while Oklahoma City bounced back from a loss to San Antonio that at least temporarily shifted the focus off Harden's departure.
BULLS 115, CAVALIERS 86
CLEVELAND (AP) — Richard Hamilton and Carlos Boozer each scored 19 points in Chicago's rout of Cleveland.
Nate Robinson added 16 points and 12 assists for the Bulls, who led the entire game after Boozer hit a jumper 23 seconds in. Chicago made 14 of 19 from the field in the first quarter and led 36-16 with 10:34 remaining in the second.
The Bulls shot 63.8 per cent from the field for the game, hitting 44 of 69 shots.
The Cavaliers, who defeated Washington in their opener, struggled on both ends of the floor. Kyrie Irving had 15 points but Cleveland shot 32 of 79 from the field (41 per cent) and committed 17 turnovers.
The Bulls are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since the 2002-03 season despite playing without star point guard Derrick Rose, who isn't expected to return until the second half of the season because of a knee injury.
BUCKS 99, CELTICS 88
BOSTON (AP) — Brandon Jennings had 21 points, 13 assists and six steals, and Milwaukee beat Boston to win its opening game for the first time in six years.
The Bucks never trailed after the first 6 minutes and led by at least 11 points throughout the second half as the Celtics, who allowed the second-fewest points in the NBA last season, struggled defensively for the second consecutive game. They lost 120-107 to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, matching the most points they allowed in any game last season.
Boston, in its home opener, was led by Kevin Garnett with 15 points and Rajon Rondo with 14 points and 11 assists. The Celtics lost their first three games last season.
Tobias Harris scored 18 points for Milwaukee and Monta Ellis had 14.
HORNETS 88, JAZZ 86
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Greivis Vasquez hit a driving layup with 1.3 seconds left, leading New Orleans over Utah even though the Hornets played without rookie centre Anthony Davis in the second half.
Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, left with 4:51 to play in the first half after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from fellow rookie and teammate Austin Rivers.
The Hornets said after the game that Davis had a mild concussion and would not accompany the team to Chicago for Saturday night's game. He is day to day.
Davis had eight points — all on dunks — six rebounds and two blocked shots.
Vasquez, who had 13 points and 10 assists, drove past Gordon Hayward, who fell to the floor, and banked in a short shot over Al Jefferson. Utah had a chance to win after calling a timeout, but Mo Williams' fallaway 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Robin Lopez and Ryan Anderson both had 19 points for the Hornets.
MAGIC 102, NUGGETS 89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Glen Davis scored 29 points, J.J. Redick added 21 and Orlando sprinted out to an early lead before holding off Denver.
Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 23 points, and Ty Lawson had 12. But they struggled offensively, unable to dig out of a 20-point first-half hole.
It was the Magic's first season opener in eight seasons without All-Star centre Dwight Howard, who was traded this summer to the Lakers in a multiteam deal involving Denver. The win was also new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn's first regular-season NBA victory.
Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu left the game with a broken left hand.
The Nuggets dropped to 0-2 on their season-opening three-game road trip.
TIMBERWOLVES 92, KINGS 80
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — J.J. Barea had 21 points and five assists in 28 minutes to help Minnesota overcome a weak shooting performance in a season-opening victory over Sacramento.
Brandon Roy pitched in 10 points, six assists and five rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists as both players returned to NBA action for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season.
Isaiah Thomas had 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter for the Kings, who trailed for most of the game but overtook the Wolves for a stretch after halftime. Marcus Thornton had 15 points off the bench, but DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans were quiet.
GRIZZLIES 104, WARRIORS 94
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Marc Gasol and Mike Conley both scored 21 points, and Memphis spoiled Golden State's home opener after Warriors forward Brandon Rush injured his left knee in a scary fall.
Rudy Gay added 18 points and eight rebounds and Zach Randolph had 15 points and 14 rebounds to help the Grizzlies rebound from a loss at the Los Angeles Clippers two nights earlier.
Randolph's foul on Rush in the first quarter unintentionally injured the Warriors forward. Rush held back tears and had to be helped off the court. He was scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday.
The Warriors went down 14 points following the injury, then scored 15 straight to take a 39-38 lead before the Grizzlies ran away with the victory in the second half.
Stephen Curry had 26 points and seven assists, and reserve Carl Landry added 20 points for Golden State on a night all the good vibes from Wednesday's win at Phoenix came crashing down. New centre Andrew Bogut, easing back into game shape after left ankle surgery, had four points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.
SUNS 92, PISTONS 89
PHOENIX (AP) — Marcin Gortat had 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Phoenix held off a late Detroit rally for its first victory of the season.
Michael Beasley scored 16 points for the Suns and Goran Dragic added 15 points and 10 assists. Shannon Brown scored 14, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
Tayshaun Prince's 18 points led six Pistons in double figures. Jason Maxiell added 15 points, all but two in the first quarter, and Brandon Knight had 13 points and 10 assists.
The Suns didn't trail after scoring the last 12 points of the first half, six by Beasley, to go up 54-46. Detroit got no closer than six points until the final minute but still had a chance to tie it on the last possession. Knight, however, threw up an air ball at the buzzer.