Wednesday, October 8, 2008

From combined dispatches

MAVERICKS 108, WIZARDS 82: Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Bass each scored 17 points to lead host Dallas to a victory over injury-depleted Washington on Tuesday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

Wizards forward Antawn Jamison left in the first quarter with a right knee injury and did not return.

Jamison’s leg appeared to buckle while playing defense midway through the first quarter, and he had to be helped to the locker room by teammates. A team spokesman at first said the knee was sprained, but later changed the diagnosis to a less serious-sounding strain.

Jamison will have an MRI and be evaluated Wednesday. The two-time NBA All-Star averaged 21.4 points and 10.2 rebounds in 79 games for the Wizards last season.

Wizards center Brendan Haywood missed the game with a sprained right wrist, which he will have examined by a hand specialist in New York City on Wednesday. Haywood sustained the injury last week at training camp.

The Wizards are already without high-scoring guard Gilbert Arenas, who’s expected to miss several months with a left knee injury.

Dallas shot 52 percent from the field and built a 55-40 halftime edge behind Nowitzki’s 10 points.

Nowitzki’s layup and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions midway through the third quarter stretched Dallas’ advantage to 70-51, and the Mavericks went on to lead by as many as 36 points in the final quarter.

Andray Blatche’s 18 points paced the Wizards.

RAPTORS 104, CAVALIERS 84: LeBron James spent a rare night relaxing on the bench, Mo Williams showed why Cleveland traded for him this summer, and the Cavaliers opened their exhibition season with a home loss to Toronto.

James played just eight minutes in the first quarter before he raised his hand for a substitute and coach Mike Brown pulled his superstar for the remainder of Cleveland’s preseason debut.

James, who won an Olympic gold medal this summer at the Beijing Games, missed his only three shots from the field, made one free throw and added two rebounds and two assists.

The wear and tear on James is a major concern for the Cavaliers. He has had little time away from the floor since last season ended because of his commitment to USA Basketball. Brown intends to reduce James’ playing time - the 23-year-old has been among the league leaders in minutes played throughout his career - with the idea of keeping him as fresh as possible for the grinding, 82-game schedule and playoffs.

Toronto’s Jermaine O’Neal, acquired from Indiana in a July trade, scored 11 points in his Raptors debut. O’Neal missed 40 games last season because of lingering knee problems and dropped weight over the summer to ease the pressure on his joints.

ROCKETS 96, GRIZZLIES 93: Ron Artest scored 12 of his 15 points in the first quarter of his Houston debut and the Rockets beat Memphis.

Tracy McGrady sat out to rest his sore left knee. The Rockets star had offseason surgery to remove loose tissue in the knee and said last week that it was healing slower than expected.

Yao Ming had 10 points and nine rebounds in less than two quarters of action. Houston coach Rick Adelman has said he’ll be careful with Yao during the preseason to try to keep the six-time All-Star fresh and injury-free.

Carl Landry, Yao’s backup, had 18 points and nine rebounds.

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