Cavs edge Nets in season opener
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 campaign. Brown, who won 313 games and made the playoffs in all five of his seasons during his initial go-around in Cleveland, was brought back in April to mold a young Cavaliers squad that showed its considerable talents in the opener.
Star point guard 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.
Brook Lopez paced Brooklyn with 21 points in the team's first of two games with new head coach Jason Kidd serving a suspension for a prior DUI arrest.
10/30 22:02:29 ET