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Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010

King James begins new era in Miami

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James and Chris Bosh combined for 38 points in their Miami preseason debuts, as the Heat easily beat the Detroit Pistons 105-89 on Tuesday in the preseason opener for both teams.

News photo
Eye to eye: LeBron James looks for a way past Tracy McGrady during Miami's 105-89 preseason win over Detroit on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

The game may have major significance for Miami after Wade limped off just 3:17 into the game with a strained right hamstring. He went into the locker room shortly afterward and did not return, and though coach Erik Spoelstra said it wasn't serious, Wade will be re-evaluated in about a week.

"Like I told him, if we're going to have an injury, I'd rather have it now than to have it when we really get started," said James, who added that Wade has been receiving treatment on the hamstring for a few days.

Bosh had 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. James, the NBA's two-time reigning most valuable player who took his championship pursuit from Cleveland to Miami this summer, added 18, and the Heat weren't challenged after running out to a 20-point lead by halftime.

Udonis Haslem added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat. Ben Gordon led Detroit with 17 points.

"I like the fact that we got better tonight," James said. "We didn't waste an opportunity to get better. That's what it's about."

By the final buzzer, most of the crowd was long gone. Most came to see the opening moments of this trio's time together.

James walked from the bench moments before tip-off with the traditional stoic look. He filled his hands with rosin powder, threw it into the air to create a white cloud, then clapped his hands three times.

Same as always. Just totally different.

"The season," James said, "is back."

He put much of his repertoire on display in the early going: no-look passes, drives to the rim, 3-pointers, even playing some point guard in the first quarter.

One play after missing a wide-open Bosh, he set up his new teammate for a dunk that left the former Toronto forward screaming with delight. And with 4.7 seconds left in the first quarter, James ran off a Haslem pick, then spun before going down the lane for a two-handed dunk — waving his arms with a flourish after giving Miami a 24-15 lead.

"As a basketball player, as a guy who loves the game of basketball, I'm excited about that, for the season to be back around," James said. "I'm very happy about that."

Bosh knew Tuesday was a big deal when his father insisted on coming to the game.

"He was that excited about it," Bosh said. "He was ready to see us take the court for the first time. Just this fact that he was super-excited about it, that let me know kind of how everybody else is going to be. And if that's how everybody is, it makes it a lot more fun to play."

Cavaliers 87, Bobcats 72

In Cleveland, the Quicken Loans Arena, so rowdy and rambunctious in seasons past, was half-filled and as quiet as it had been in years. There were no gravity-defying dunks or flames shooting from the scoreboard, and the only pregame powder toss took place 1,900 km away.

In Miami, LeBron James started anew.

In Cleveland, the Cavaliers started over.

Daniel Gibson scored 18 points and J.J. Hickson added 17 as the Cavs, under new coach Byron Scott, moved a little further away from James' imposing shadow by opening the preseason with a victory over Charlotte.

Kings 109, Suns 95

In Sacramento, Tyreke Evans scored 26 points to lead the Kings to a victory over Phoenix in the teams' preseason opener.

Trail Blazers 115, Clippers 86

In Portland, Wesley Matthews scored 20 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 17, and the Trail Blazers rolled to a victory over the Clippers.

Wizards 97, Mavericks 94

In Dallas, No. 1 draft pick John Wall had 21 points and nine assists, Lester Hudson hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining, and the Wizards held on to beat the Mavericks.

Magic 97, Rockets 88

In Hidalgo, Texas, Dwight Howard had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Vince Carter added 14 points and Orlando beat Houston in a game where Yao Ming played just 12 minutes.

Bucks 92, Bulls 83

In Milwaukee, Earl Boykins scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bucks to a victory over the Bulls in their preseason opener.

Nets 103, 76ers 96

In Roanoke, Va. Brook Lopez scored 24 points, Terrence Williams added 20, and New Jersey beat Philadelphia.

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