Cavaliers 98, Nets 94: Tristan Thompson scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Kyrie Irving collected 15 points, seven rebounds and nine assists as host Cleveland held on for a season-opening victory.
Anderson Varejao added 11 points and eight rebounds and hit the go-ahead basket with 28.1 seconds left to help the Cavaliers spoil the much-anticipated Brooklyn debut of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. Cleveland center Andrew Bynum played in his first game since May 21, 2012, and had three points, three rebounds and two blocks in eight minutes.
Brook Lopez scored 21 points while Pierce had 17 and Terry 14 for the Nets, who were without point guard Deron Williams down the stretch because of a sore ankle. Williams had seven points and nine assists in 22 minutes.
Brooklyn ran out to a 12-2 lead but couldn't sustain the hot start. The Cavaliers led 49-48 at halftime behind 12 points from reserve Jarrett Jack, and they heated up in the third quarter to stretch the margin to nine entering the final stanza.
The Nets wiped out the deficit with a 14-5 run to start the fourth but missed eight straight shots as Cleveland regained control. Pierce broke the drought with a 3-pointer and Lopez laid in a basket to tie it at 91, but Varejao hit a mid-range jumper for the lead and Irving knocked down four straight free throws to seal it.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Garnett passed Reggie Miller for 14th on the all-time scoring list. … No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett was 0-for-5 and finished with two points and five rebounds in his NBA debut for Cleveland. … Assistant coach Joe Prunty served as acting head coach for the Nets in place of Jason Kidd, who served the first of a two-game suspension stemming from his drunk driving arrest.