Lakers 96, Jazz 71
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points as the host Los Angeles Lakers, playing for the third time in three days, won their first game of the season with a 96-71 victory over Utah on Tuesday in the Jazz’s season opener.
The sudden demise of the Lakers (1-2) will have to wait a little longer as they took advantage cold-shooting Utah, which was 29 of 90 (32.2 percent) from the field and 1 of 13 on 3-pointers. At one point in the second quarter, the Jazz were 9 of 43 and finished the half 13 of 50.
The Jazz didn’t have a double-figure scorer until the fourth quarter when Paul Millsap scored at 8:53. He finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Josh Howard scored 10 and Al Jefferson was 2 of 16 for four points.
Pau Gasol had 22 points and nine rebounds, Bryant also had eight rebounds and five assists and Metta World Peace scored 14 for the Lakers, who have won 26 of the last 29 home games – including playoffs – against Utah.
The only drama in the fourth quarter was whether Utah would avoid its worst scoring game in franchise history (59 points). The loss was the second worst in an opener for the Jazz, nearly eclipsing a 103-77 setback at Dallas in 1986.
The Lakers haven’t lost their first three games since 1978 – the season before they drafted Magic Johnson with the No. 1 overall pick.
After a close first quarter, the Lakers got emphatic dunks from World Peace and Bryant to take a 35-22 lead. The Lakers continued to pour it on in the third behind 10 points from Bryant and seven from Gasol.
Trail Blazers 101, Kings 79
Gerald Wallace scored 25 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-79 victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
Portland (2-0) trailed by 12 points late in the second quarter, but rallied to tie the game at 46 at halftime. The Trail Blazers took control in the third quarter and built a nine-point lead on two occasions.
Portland scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to go ahead 80-65 and the lead reached 21 points with just over two minutes to play. Eleven players scored for Trail Blazers.
Sacramento (1-1) wasn’t able to repeat the performance that resulted in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but Marcus Thornton, who scored 27 points against the Lakers, was held to 14. Tyreke Evans managed only four points after scoring 20 on Monday.
Portland has won 10 of the last 11 meetings against Sacramento. The Kings’ first seven games and nine of their first 10 are against teams that made the playoffs last season.
Heat 115, Celtics 107
LeBron James poured in 26 points to lead the Miami Heat to their second straight win, a 115-107 triumph over the visiting Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
James came into the night averaging better than 30 points in his career against the Celtics and burned them again thanks to a 9-for-14 shooting performance. He added six rebounds and five assists as the Heat prevailed in their home opener after kicking off their season with a 105-94 victory in Dallas on Christmas Day.
Miami took charge early in this one, going up by double digits midway through the second quarter and extending the advantage to 17 on a trio of 3-pointers from James Jones in a 3 1/2-minute span.
The Celtics closed to within eight on Keyon Dooling’s 3-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter, then overcame a sluggish start to the fourth with an 18-6 run – capped by another Dooling 3-pointer with 2:01 remaining – that trimmed the deficit to three.
Norris Cole followed by hitting consecutive jumpers for Miami – both on feeds from James – and the Heat held on over the final minute. Cole finished with 20 points.
Ray Allen led all scorers with 28 points for the Celtics, who played without Paul Pierce (bruised heel) for the second straight game. Pierce will not be in the lineup for Wednesday’s game in New Orleans.
Bucks 98, Timberwolves 95
Brandon Jennings collected 24 points and seven assists as the Milwaukee Bucks jumped out early and held off the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 98-95 on Tuesday.
Stephen Jackson added 16 points and Andrew Bogut chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks, who bounced back from a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in their season opener Monday.
Kevin Love went 19 of 24 from the free throw line and finished with 31 points and 20 rebounds for Minnesota.
Milwaukee set a fast pace in the first half, shooting 51 percent from the floor to take a 60-48 edge into the locker room.
The Timberwolves, one of the weakest defensive teams in the league last season, had a better showing on that end in the second half. Minnesota slowly chipped away and closed to within 94-92 with 1:40 left when Michael Beasley knocked down a jumper.
The Bucks called a timeout and drew up a play for rookie Jon Leuer, who got underneath for a dunk and was fouled. The Wisconsin product hit the free throw and Milwaukee held the Timberwolves without a field goal the rest of the way.
Hawks 106, Nets 70
Vladimir Radmanovic scored 17 points and Atlanta rolled to a 106-70 victory over the host New Jersey Nets in the Hawks’ season opener on Tuesday.
Atlanta placed six players in double figures and never trailed as it closed the first quarter with a 17-4 run to take a 28-11 lead.
The Hawks’ dominance continued in the second quarter and Jeff Teague ended the first half by hitting a 30-footer that gave Atlanta a 52-30 lead.
Atlanta’s lead reached 39 points on four occasions in the fourth quarter.
Marvin Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds while Teague scored 13 for Atlanta, which was 12 for 23 on 3-pointers. Zaza Pachulia added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
New Jersey (1-1) rallied from a 21-point deficit for a 90-84 victory against Washington on Monday, but there was no comeback this time.
Rookie Marshon Brooks, playing in his second NBA game, led the Nets with 17 points. Kris Humphries scored 11.
The Nets played their final home opener in New Jersey before they move to Brooklyn next season.