Ginobili anchors NBA champions Spurs to win

By Xinhua

Los Angeles : Argentine Manu Ginobili scored 30 points, including two clutch free throws with three seconds left, as the defending NBA champions San Antonio Spurs handed hosts Memphis Grizzlies their eighth consecutive season opening loss.

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Tim Duncan and Frenchman Tony Parker scored 17 points apiece Wednesday for Spurs, who beat Portland Trail Blazers in their season opener a day earlier.

Spain’s Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 22 points, Damon Stoudamire had 18 and Rudy Gay finished with 16, but missed a potential game-tying 3-point try at the final buzzer.

The Dallas Mavericks took a small step towards taking the sting out of last season’s painful post-season collapse by shutting down LeBron James and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers 92-74 in the season opener for both teams.

Jason Terry came off the bench to score 24 points, including six shots from outside the three-point arc.

The Mavericks held foul-troubled “King James” scoreless in the decisive first half, before the All-Star forward finished with 10 points on 2-of-11 field goal shooting.

Jerry Stackhouse had 17 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 15 points for Dallas, who played without All-Star forward Josh Howard, serving a two-game suspension for his role in a pre-season altercation with Sacramento Kings’ Brad Miller.

Chris Paul collected 22 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds as the Hornets celebrated their full-time return to New Orleans by spoiling Reggie Theus’ coaching debut with the Kings with a 104-90 win.

Peja Stojakovic added 19 points, David West had 17 points, while Tyson Chandler finished 15 points and 13 rebounds for New Orleans, who were forced to play the majority of its home games in Oklahoma City, after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Kevin Martin scored 26 points and John Salmons finished with 22 for the Kings, who were without starters Mike Bibby (thumb surgery) and Ron Artest (suspension).

Newcomer Rashard Lewis scored 26 points, Turkey’s Hedo Turkoglu had 24 and the Orlando Magic made 12 three-pointers to bounce the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.

Michael Redd led the Bucks with 25 points, while Chinese rookie forward Yi Jianlian scored nine points in his NBA debut.

Jamaal Tinsley scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists, giving Jim O’Brien a 119-110 victory over Washigton Wizards in his Indian Pacers coaching debut.

Mike Dunleavy had 25 points and 12 rebounds while Danny Granger added 20 points and 13 boards for the Pacers, who were without injured Jermaine O’Neal and Troy Murphy.

Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards with 34 points, including a buzzer beating three-pointer that forced overtime. Antawn Jamison had 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Italy’s Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points, including a rare four-point play down the stretch, while Chris Bosh had 16 as the Toronto Raptors opened defence of their Atlantic Division crown with a 106-97 triumph over Philadelphia 76ers.

Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with a game-high 23 points and Kyle Korver finished with 20.

Antoine Wright scored 14 of his career-high 21 points in the final quarter and overtime, as the New Jersey Nets regrouped to beat the Chicago Bulls 112-103 in New Jersey for the 12th consecutive time.

Richard Jefferson led the Nets with 29 points and 10 rebounds while Vince Carter had 24 points.

Ben Gordon had 27 points and Luol Deng added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who fell short after erasing a 17-point second half deficit.

Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points, while Allen Iverson had 25 points, 14 assists and seven steals, helping the Denver Nuggets spoil the NBA debut of Seattle SuperSonics rookie Kevin Durant in the season opener for both teams.

Durant finished with 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting for Seattle.