Tuesday's roundup: Cavs ring in new season, win big
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 had 19 points, 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 Heat players were presented with their championship rings.
Blinking back tears, LeBron James extended his right ring finger, the one sparkling with 400 diamonds, and touched the championship banner.
“This is for you guys,” James told the crowd, repeating a message he screamed after the Cavs won Game 7 at Oracle Arena on June 19. “This is all for you.”
James paused and then reminded Cleveland that it remains underdogs — even in victory.
“At this point, if you’re not from here, live here, play here … then it makes no sense for you to live at this point,” said the three-time champion. “Cleveland against the world.”
Irving scored 19 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.
Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert was taken to the locker room late in the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms after colliding with Kristaps Porzingis.
Cleveland’s players, coaching staff and front office personnel also received their championship rings in the pregame ceremony.
New York, playing its first game under new coach Jeff Hornacek, trailed by 13 in the second quarter but rallied to cut the lead to 45-43 at halftime. A pair of dunks by James and 3-pointers from Irving and Love pushed the lead to 61-49. Irving hit three 3-pointers for a 74-53 lead.
Porzingis scored 16 points for New York.
The NBA began its season with international players making up one-quarter of the league.
The 113 international players come from 41 countries and territories. A maximum of 15 players are allowed on the 30 NBA teams.
The NBA said the Jazz lead the way with seven international players. Every team has at least one such player. Canadians are most represented for the third straight year. Eleven players from Canada are on NBA rosters, followed by France at 10, Brazil at nine, and Australia and Spain at eight.
International newcomers making debuts tonight include Dragan Bender of Croatia, the No. 4 overall draft pick by Phoenix, and Buddy Hield of the Bahamas, the No. 6 selection by New Orleans.
Investor Chris Hansen and the group looking to bring the NBA back to Seattle have offered to pay for a new arena with private funds.
Hansen’s group sent a letter to the city of Seattle on Tuesday. Hansen’s group acknowledges a changed landscape and is now offering to rip up a memorandum of understanding from 2012 that called for up to $200 million in public investment in the arena. Hansen’s group will pay for the project privately.