October 31, 2013

NBA Roundup: Celtics drop season opener

Boston struggles on the boards as Toronto wins 93-87.

The Associated Press

TORONTO — Brad Stevens saw plenty of positives in his first game as head coach of the Boston Celtics.

click image to enlarge

Kyle Lowry drives to the net past Boston guard Jordan Crawford during the Raptors’ 93-97 win Wednesday in Toronto.

Reuters

Philadelphia Coach Brett Brown watches as his team earns a win during his debut with the 76ers Wednesday.

The Associated Press

Rebounding wasn’t one of them.

Rudy Gay had 19 points and eight rebounds, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan each scored 13 points and the Toronto Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak in home openers by beating the Celtics 93-87 on Wednesday night.

The Raptors outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, including a whopping 19-7 margin on the offensive glass.

The way Stevens saw it, that was “the key to the game” in his NBA head coaching debut.

“When they broke us down, they crushed us on the glass,” Stevens said. “They shot 20 more field goals than us. It’s going to be hard to win a game when that happens.”

Jonas Valanciunas had eight points and 11 rebounds and Tyler Hansbrough had 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who won for just the sixth time in 26 meetings with Boston.

Kyle Lowry had 11 points and eight assists as Toronto improved to 10-9 in season-opening games.

Jeff Green had 25 points, Brandon Bass had 17 and Vitor Faverani 13 for the Celtics. Kris Humphries had eight points and nine rebounds.

Bass blamed poor positioning for the big disparity in offensive rebounds.

“We tried to help and got ourselves out of position,” Bass said. “Their bigs were naked under the basket for the most part.”

While it didn’t work out the way he’d hoped, Stevens tried to stay positive.

“At the end of the day we didn’t do everything perfectly,” he said. “I didn’t coach a perfect game, but I think we can all rest assured we’ve got a team that will fight and we’ve got a team that will compete. And we can shore up a couple of those mistakes, maybe we can come out the other end of it.”

76ERS 114, HEAT 110: South Portland native Brett Brown watched the 76ers rally late to take a win in his head coaching debut. Spencer Hawes scored 24 points and hit the winning basket late in the fourth quarter to lead Philadelphia to a home win.

The Sixers were strong from the opening tip, they made their first 11 shots and raced to a stunning 26-4 lead. The Heat, though, erased the deficit in the third quarter and appeared to take control behind LeBron James.

Hawes hit a 3-pointer, then a driving layup for a 109-108 lead with 2:01 left.

James blew two straight chances to put Miami up, losing the ball on a drive down the middle, then missed a 6-footer on the next possession.

Shane Battier missed his seventh straight 3-point attempt, and the Sixers put the game away from the free-throw line.

CAVALIERS 98, NETS 94: Anderson Varejao’s basket with 28 seconds left – off an assist from Kyrie Irving – sent Cleveland to a home win over the remodeled Brooklyn Nets in Coach Mike Brown’s first game back with the Cavaliers.

TIMBERWOLVES 120, MAGIC 115: Kevin Love had 31 points and 17 rebounds and hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds left to force overtime in Minneapolis.

ROCKETS 96, BOBCATS 83: 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 at home.

KNICKS 90, BUCKS 83: 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 rallied at home.

PACERS 95, PELICANS 90: Paul George scored 32, George Hill capped a 19-point performance with pivotal 3-pointer in the final minute, and the Pacers erased a 16-point deficit in New Orleans.

SPURS 101, GRIZZLIES 94: Kawhi Leonard had 14 points, Tony Parker added 13 points and nine assists, and the host Spurs got off to a strong start after last season’s disappointing loss in the NBA Finals.

PISTONS 113, WIZARDS 102: Greg Monroe had 24 points and 16 rebounds, and the new-look Pistons won their season opener in convincing fashion at home.

MAVERICKS 118, HAWKS 109: Monta Ellis started his Dallas career with 32 points, Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 and the host Mavericks spoiled Mike Budenholzer’s coaching debut.

NOTE

76ERS: Allen Iverson officially retired from the NBA on Wednesday, ending a 15-year career during which he won the 2001 MVP award and four scoring titles. Iverson retired in Philadelphia where he had his greatest successes and led the franchise to the 2001 NBA finals. Iverson said he’ll be a Sixer “until the day I die.”

The 6-foot guard had not played in an NBA game since Feb. 20, 2010, and had a brief pro stint in Turkey. He also played for Denver, Detroit and Memphis. Iverson scored 24,368 points and was an 11-time All-Star.

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