James and Davis make preseason debuts as Lakers edge Suns

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LeBron James and Anthony Davis returned to the field for the Los Angeles Lakers, less than a week before the regular season began – and just over two months after winning the NBA title.
This short offseason could be especially tough for the Lakers after their championship run, but James and Davis first played this preseason Wednesday night in Los Angeles’ 112-107 win over Phoenix. Davis sank a turnaround to start the game and had 10 points in 17 1/2 minutes. James scored 11 points in 15 minutes.

“I felt good, honestly,” Davis said. “When I arrived, I thought I was going to be a little short of breath. You can try to get in as much shape as you want, but it’s nothing like being in basketball shape.

The Lakers, who beat Miami to win the championship on Oct. 11, begin the new season against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

In addition to James and Davis, Kyle Kuzma was in the starting lineup for the Lakers on Wednesday, with new acquisitions Dennis Schroder and Marc Gasol.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night, the New York Knicks recovered from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-93. Julius Randle scored 18 points for the Knicks and RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox II had 16 each.

“Once we got some energy from the saves, I thought it gave us a lot more energy on offense,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

Also on Wednesday, Chicago beat Oklahoma City 124-103 and Denver beat Portland 126-95.

Former Thunder coach Billy Donovan returned to Oklahoma City as Chicago coach. He led the Thunder to the playoffs last season before deciding not to return.

There are seven games scheduled for Thursday, eight games on Friday, and then the preseason ends with three games on Saturday.

Wednesday games:

LAKES 112, SUNS 107

In Phoenix, Kuzma scored 23 points to lead the Lakers, who beat Phoenix 43-24 in the fourth quarter. Both teams led by up to 14 points.

Montrezl Harrell’s hook shot capped an 18-4 run that put Los Angeles up to a 91-90 lead, and it was pretty close the rest of the time.

Deandre Ayton scored 21 points for Phoenix and Devin Booker added 16.

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 18 for the Lakers.

KNICKS 100, CAVALIERS 93

In New York, the Knicks rallied after Cleveland led 83-66 early in the last period. Knox had 14 points in the fourth, including three at 3 points.

André Drummond had 18 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes for Cleveland. The Cavaliers acquired the big man in a trade with Detroit last season. Drummond even sank a 3 point Wednesday. He was 5 for 35 from beyond the arc last season for the Pistons and Cavaliers.

Darius Garland added 13 points for Cleveland.

BULLS 124, THUNDER 103

In Oklahoma City, the Bulls took control in the second quarter and did not let go. Coby White had 27 points on 11 of 17 shots. Zach LaVine added 24 points in 26 minutes for the Bulls.

Al Horford had 15 points and seven rebounds in his first pre-season action with the Thunder, and Frank Jackson added 15 points for Oklahoma City. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 12 points in 19 minutes.

LaVine scored 16 points on a 6 for 7 shot in the first quarter while Gilgeous-Alexander scored 11 for Oklahoma City.

Chicago shot 52% in the first half to lead 59-46. The Bulls’ biggest lead was 27 points at the start of the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City couldn’t get into a current, but part of that was because first-year coach Mark Daigneault gave 13 players minutes.

The teams meet on Friday.

NUGGETS 126 BLAZERS TRAIL 95

In Denver, Paul Millsap scored 18 points and Nikola Jokic had 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets.

Denver led 41-24 after the first quarter. The Nuggets shot 52 percent from the field for the game and had 19 points to 3 points.

Robert Covington led Portland with 15 points.

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