On the back of strong performances by Tristan Thompson and backup guard Jarrett Jack, the Cleveland Cavaliers managed to hold off a fourth quarter comeback by the star-studded Brooklyn Nets to win their first game of the season, 98-94.
Thompson would lead the Cavaliers with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. He also chipped in nine rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
With Kyrie Irving struggling in the first half with two quick fouls and his shot not falling, Jack would come through for Cleveland and help get the offense back on track. The nine-year veteran out of Georgia Tech finished with 12 points, all of which came in the opening 24 minutes.
The Nets were without backup small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who sat out with a back injury. All-Star point guard Deron Williams also dealt with a nagging ankle throughout the night, hitting just two of his six shot attempts while also sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
Andrew Bynum, who has been out of action for almost 17 months, returned to the court as a member of the Cavaliers bench, scoring three points, grabbing three rebounds and blocking two shots in seven minutes of action.
After trailing for most of the second half, the Nets managed to slowly chip away at the lead and tie the game at 91-91. An Anderson Varejao jumper from the free-throw line with 28.1 seconds remaining put the Cavaliers up by two, while four free-throws from Irving sealed the deal for good.
Making their regular season debut's for the Brooklyn Nets, Paul Pierce would score 17 points, while Kevin Garnett added eight points and ten rebounds. KG also passed Reggie Miller for 14th on the NBA All-Time scoring list.
FINAL SCORE: Cleveland Cavaliers 98 (1-0), Brooklyn Nets 94 (0-1)