CLEVELAND -- Anderson Varejao's basket with 28 seconds left -- off an assist from Kyrie Irving -- sent Cleveland to a 98-94 win on Wednesday night over the remodeled Brooklyn Nets in coach Mike Brown's first game back with the Cavaliers.
Varejao's jumper gave the Cavs a 93-91 lead, and Irving, who finished with 15 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, made four free throws in the final 14 seconds to help Cleveland put it away.
Brook Lopez scored 21 and Paul Pierce scored 17 in his first game for the Nets, who were without coach Jason Kidd. He's serving a two-game suspension for a driving-under-the-influence conviction. Kevin Garnett, another of Brooklyn's new pieces, had 10 rebounds.
Tristan Thompson led the Cavs with 18 points. Cleveland center Andrew Bynum, who missed all of last season for Philadelphia with knee problems, played in his first game in 17 months (see full recap).
Howard leads Rockets over Bobcats
HOUSTON -- Dwight Howard had 17 points and a career-high-tying 26 rebounds in his Houston debut, James Harden added 21 points and the Rockets cruised to a 96-83 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Howard spurned the Lakers to sign an $88 million deal with Houston, joining Harden and a team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009.
The Rockets led by four points in the fourth quarter before using a 14-4 run to extend the lead to 86-72 with about 3 minutes left.
Harden tossed an alley-oop to Howard for a dunk during that span. The crowd roared as Howard pointed and smiled at his new teammate.
Another dunk by Howard, this one a two-handed slam, capped the spurt.
The Bobcats were led by Josh McRoberts, who had 15 points (see full recap).
Durant scores 42 in Thunder win
SALT LAKE CITY -- Kevin Durant scored 22 of his 42 points from the free throw line, including a pair with 6.4 seconds remaining, to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 101-98 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Reggie Jackson scored 14 points and had two clutch free throws of his own with 10.5 seconds to play. Thabo Sefolosha also had 14 points for the Thunder.
Gordon Hayward had a chance to tie the game for the Jazz but missed a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Alec Burks had 19 of his 24 points in the second half for Utah and closed the gap to 99-98 on a dunk after Hayward came up the ball in a mad scramble with 10 seconds left (see full recap).
Knicks hold on to top Bucks
NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds, making a pair of baskets in a finishing run after New York had blown a 25-point lead, and the Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 90-83 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Seemingly coasting to a second straight opening-night blowout, the Knicks instead were behind with under 3 minutes remaining before Tyson Chandler's follow dunk and two straight baskets by Anthony put them back ahead by five.
Chandler added another basket in the Knicks' 10-2 run to close out their sixth straight victory over the Bucks.
Raymond Felton added 18 points and Iman Shumpert had 16 for the Knicks, who shot 51 percent but committed 22 turnovers.
Gary Neal scored 16 points and fellow newcomer Caron Butler had 14 for the Bucks, who opened on the road for the 29th consecutive year (see full recap).