Heat Top Celtics 120-117, Mavericks Down Lakers in NBA Openers

Dwyane Wade had 29 points and LeBron James added 26 as the defending champion Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 120-107 on the opening night of the National Basketball Association season.

Elsewhere last night, the Dallas Mavericks won 99-91 at the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Washington Wizards 94-84.

The Heat are favored to win back-to-back NBA titles, with a successful $100 bet returning $225, according to Pregame.com. The Lakers are second followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, last season’s runner-up. A winning $100 bet on the New York Knicks would return $4,000 or $5,000 for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets open their season tomorrow with the first NBA regular-season game at the Barclays Center against the Knicks.

Miami’s Wade hit 10 of 22 field-goal attempts and added 9-of-11 from the free-throw line for the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. James, who left the game with leg cramps during the fourth quarter, had 10 rebounds while Chris Bosh had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ray Allen, who played five seasons with the Celtics before moving to Miami, added 19 points.

“I had a bevy of emotions,” said Allen, who was meeting his former team for the first time as a member of the Heat. “Coming out here was even tougher than I expected but I adjusted.”

The Heat had a 62-54 halftime advantage before the Celtics, down by as many as 19 points at the start of the fourth quarter, battled back to within four points at 111-107 with two minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the game.

No Dirk

At Staples Center in Los Angeles, Darren Collison scored 17 points and Brandon Wright added 14 for the Mavericks, who will be without Dirk Nowitzki for six weeks after he had knee surgery Oct. 20.

Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant had 22 points and Dwight Howard added 19 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in his debut for Los Angeles.

The Mavericks bench out-scored the Lakers substitutes by 37 points to 17, while Dallas made 78 percent of its free-throw attempts, compared with 39 percent for Los Angeles.

At Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and Anderson Varejao had a career-high 23 rebounds for the Cavaliers. Rookie Dion Waiters added 17 points.

Reserve Jordan Crawford scored 11 points for the Wizards, who were playing without point guard John Wall, power forward Nene and forward Kevin Seraphin.

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