The Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James drives past the New York Knicks' Kyle O'Quinn.
The Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James drives past the New York Knicks' Kyle O'Quinn. Phil Long

Irving and LeBron fire as Cavs celebrate

BASKETBALL: It was a day of celebration as the Cleveland Cavailers began the defence of their NBA title in fine style with a 117-88 win over the New York Knicks in Cleveland.

After being presented with their championship rings and pennant before the game, the Cavaliers were too good for the visitors.

Australian-born Kyrie Irving scored 19 of his 29 points in a decisive third quarter to get the season off to the perfect start.

LeBron James had a triple-double with 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

It was a mixed opening night for Australian stars. Patty Mills scored 11 points as the San Antonio Spurs upset last year's runners-up the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco 129-100.

Dante Exum scored five points for the Utah Jazz in eight minutes on the court in its opening day 113-104 loss to the Trailblazers in Portland, while teammate and fellow Aussie Joe Ingles hit two in 14 minutes of game time.



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