CLEVELAND, Ohio (Sporting Alert) — LeBron James’ return to the Cleveland Cavaliers ended in defeat after his team went down 95-90 to the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena Thursday night.
James finished the night with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, but turned the ball over eight-times on a night where he shot just 5 of 15 from the field.
“I didn’t press,” James said. “I didn’t do much.
“I was throwing passes where I thought some of my teammates were. Those things will come.”
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and six assists and Iman Shumpert and Jason Smith each added 12 points in the win for the Knicks (1-1) which rebounded from the 24pt defeat to the Chicago Bulls the night before.
Anthony, who is a close friend with James and several other of the American Cavs players, believes Cleveland will get things right soon.
“Everybody expects it to automatically work,” Anthony said. “It’s going to take some time.
“It took time in Miami for him. He’ll figure it out. They’ll figure it out. I don’t see anything that they won’t figure out. ”
Kyrie Irving paced the Cavaliers with 22 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Kevin Love supported with 19 points and 14 rebounds in the defeat.
The Cavs return to action on Friday night when they visit Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
The other team making their season debut on Thursday night was the Los Angeles Clippers, who picked up a 93-90 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost Russell Westbrook when he suffered a hand injury.
Forward Blake Griffin led the way for the LA Clippers with 23 points and point guard Chris Paul added 22 in a season-opening 93-90 win Thursday over the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost another star to injury when Russell Westbrook broke his right hand.
Jamal Crawford chipped in with 16 points off the bench for the Clippers.
“It was pretty ugly,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We have 81 more games to fix it.”
“What I was proud of, they kept fighting defensively. I don’t know that we win this game last year.”
The Thunder, who is already without injured MVP and leading scorer Kevin Durant, also lost Westbrook, after he suffered a broken hand in the second quarter of the game.
He played just nine-minutes and scored two points and four assists before exiting the contest.
“It’s unfortunate the way it is right now, but we have to figure out how to get better from all of our experiences,” a disappointed Thunder coach Scott Brooks told reporters.
“Good teams and good players bounce back from adversity, and our guys understand that.”
Perry Jones scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down seven rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and nine boards for OKC, which is now 0-2 to start the season after losing 106-89 at the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night.
Elsewhere on the night, speedy point guard John Wall scored 30 points and handed out 12 assists and the Washington Wizards gained a 105-98 win over the Orlando Magic, while the Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 120-102 and the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Detroit Pistons 97-91.