Spurs edge Mavericks in season opener
THE San Antonio Spurs raised their championship banner, then elevated their game when it mattered, to edge out the Dallas Mavericks 101-100 in the National Basketball Association's (NBA's) season opener on Tuesday.
Tony Parker swished a three-pointer to give the Spurs a one-point lead with about a minute to go and the reigning champions celebrated last season's success with a triumph in front of their home crowd.
Dallas had a chance to crash the Spurs' party, but Chandler Parsons missed a three-pointer in the last seconds and their final full-court heave misfired.
Parker led the way with 23 points, Manu Ginobili added 20 off the bench and Tim Duncan tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds as the team's familiar faces helped erase an eight-point half-time deficit.
"We moved the ball much better in the second half," Ginobili told reporters. "It was a close game, anything could've happened."
Monta Ellis had a game-high 26 points for the Mavericks, who pushed San Antonio to seven games during the first round of last season's play-offs. Dirk Nowitzki scored 18.
The Spurs outscored the Mavs 31-20 in the third quarter and pushed their advantage to 10 in the fourth before being tested down the stretch.
San Antonio won despite playing without NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard, who was out with an eye infection.
Big free-agent signing Parsons debuted for the Mavs but made just two of 10 shots. Tyson Chandler (eight points, 10 rebounds) and Jameer Nelson (nine points) also got their start as new key additions.
In Los Angeles, the Lakers' rookie forward, Julius Randle, broke his leg in his first NBA game.
With just under seven minutes to play in a 90-108 loss to the Houston Rockets, Randle fell hard after a drive to the lane, breaking his tibia, the club announced.
The Lakers, who lost Kobe Bryant to injury for all but six games last season, had already been hit with injuries even before Randle got hurt.
Future hall of famer Steve Nash is expected to miss the entire season, possibly ending his career with a back injury.
Randle, the No. 7 overall pick in the NBA entry draft, was stretchered off the court after being treated by doctors, who put his leg in an air cast.
The 2.06m, 113.4kg Randle was one-for-three from the floor for two points in 13 minutes of playing time.
Bryant, playing for the first time since December, scored 19 points in 29 minutes, but the only fight the Lakers showed was in his late confrontation with the Rockets' Dwight Howard.
The two players shared one contentious 2012-2013 season together in Los Angeles. Bad blood boiled over in the fourth when Howard elbowed Bryant, and the two exchanged words and drew technical fouls.