James, Cavaliers open preseason by beating Magic
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had a successful start to their title defense preparations.
James played just 13 minutes as the NBA champions opened the exhibition season with a 117-102 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue intends to keep James’ playing time to a minimum during the preseason. The superstar scored seven points and had six assists. Lue also rested point guard Kyrie Irving and forward Tristan Thompson sat out with a stiff left foot.
Jeff Green scored 19 to pace the Magic in their second game under coach Frank Vogel.
MAGIC: Mario Hezonja scored 17 and Evan Fournier 14. ... Serge Ibaka (sore right knee), Aaron Gordon (sprained left ankle) and Jodie Meeks (broken right foot) all sat out.
CAVALIERS: Cleveland led by 26 at half. ... Kevin Love scored eight points in 13 minutes. ... Jordan McRae led Cleveland with 20 points and rookie Kay Felder added 14. ... Guard J.R. Smith remains unsigned and there remains no progress in talks between the free agent’s representatives and the Cavs. ... DeAndre Liggins started for Irving and had four points in 14 minutes.
UP NEXT: Orlando (0-2) doesn’t play again until Oct. 12 against San Antonio. Cleveland (1-0) hosts Philadelphia on Saturday.
THUNDER 92, FC BARCELONA 89
BARCELONA — Enes Kanter had 24 points and eight rebounds as Oklahoma City salvaged a split of its two-game exhibition tour to Spain. The Thunder were beaten in overtime by Real Madrid on Monday.
THUNDER: Russell Westbrook finished with 12 points and five assists in 21 minutes, playing in just the first and third quarters. ... Kanter had the go-ahead basket with a minute left. ... Steve Adams sat out with an injured right ankle. ... Victor Oladipo scored 10 points.
FC BARCELONA: Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Victor Claver scored 25 points.
UP NEXT: Oklahoma City (1-1) visits Dallas on Tuesday.
JAZZ 104, SUNS 99
PHOENIX — Rudy Gobert had 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in Utah’s first preseason victory.
Gobert was 13 for 14 from the foul line.
Brandon Knight scored 17 points for Phoenix.
JAZZ: Guard Dante Exum sat out the second half with a hyperextended left knee. He sat out last season with a torn ACL in the same knee. ... Trey Lyles had 16 points and Gordon Hayward finished with 15.
SUNS: No. 4 pick Dragan Bender shot 3 for 7, missing all four 3-point attempts, and scored six points. He had been scoreless in his preseason debut. ... Rookie Marquese Chris, also a top-10 pick, shot 4 for 15 and scored 11 points. ... TJ Warren had 15 points and Devin Booker 11.
UP NEXT: Utah (1-1) visits the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. Phoenix (1-1) visits Portland on Friday.
CLIPPERS 104, RAPTORS 98
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin scored 24 points as the Clippers bounced back from their embarrassing performance against Golden State a night earlier.
The Clippers lost 120-75 in Oakland, California on Tuesday in their preseason opener.
DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points in his hometown for the Raptors.
CLIPPERS: Chris Paul had 15 assists. ... The Clippers had 33 points in the first quarter, matching their halftime output against the Warriors. ... DeAndre Jordan grabbed 10 rebounds.
RAPTORS: Toronto had split a pair of games in Canada to open the preseason, beating the Warriors in Vancouver and falling to Denver in Calgary. ... Point guard Kyle Lowry had the night off to rest.
UP NEXT: Toronto (1-2) visits Cleveland on Oct. 13. ... Los Angeles (1-1) hosts Utah on Monday.