Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 10/10

Game 1: Tuesday, October 10th
Celtics109Final
Cavaliers93
Game 2: Friday, October 13th
Cavaliers91Final
Celtics82

Celtics 109

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Cavaliers 93

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    Coverage: FSOH

    7:00 PM ET, October 10, 2006

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 28 33 23 25109
    CLE 36 23 11 2393

    Boston 109, Cleveland 93

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Here's a change, LeBron James was a witness.

    James observed most of Cleveland's exhibition opener from the bench, while Paul Pierce scored 17 points to rally the Boston Celtics to a 109-93 victory over the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

    James played just 17 minutes, scoring six points with two rebounds and three assists before being pulled by coach Mike Brown, who wants to cut his superstar's minutes this season to keep him fresh.

    "I had a long summer, and he knows that," said James, who spent two months playing for the U.S. team at the worlds championships in Japan. "We're going to be smart about it (playing time)."

    James, whose "Witness" T-shirts and commercials for Nike became a rage last year in the playoffs, spent the third and fourth quarters kicking back on the bench. He joked with teammates and jumped out of his seat when rookie guard Shannon Brown got free for an emphatic breakaway dunk.

    Pierce, the only player in the NBA last season to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals, went 4-of-12 from the field but he was fouled on several drives and finished 9-of-16 from the free throw line.

    Sebastian Telfair added 12 points and Kendrick Perkins had 10 for the Celtics, who went 33-49 last season. Boston trailed by 11 points in the first quarter but outscored the Cavs 83-59 over the final three.

    "What we're trying to do is establish an identity," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Other than the first nine minutes I was pretty happy."

    Mike Brown was not as he stared at a box score. He reeled off lopsided statistics that underscored Boston's win and his disappointment.

    "Let's see, we gave up 19 offensive rebounds, 48 percent shooting, 109 points, 28 turnovers," he said. "It's going to be hard to win."

    Drew Gooden scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, playing their first home game since blowing Game 6 to Detroit in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. They unveiled a new, two-tone court and offseason additions to a team that went 50-32 last season and made the playoffs for the first time since 1998.

    Entering his fourth year as a pro, James averaged 42.5 minutes per game last season -- second only to Philadelphia's Allen Iverson. Brown needs James on top of his game in June, not October, and plans to trim James' playing time to 40 minutes.

    "I'm going to get him time (off)," he said. "If I don't, I didn't do my job."

    James took just 20 seconds to make his first highlight-worthy play, making a steal and driving for a jam to delight Cleveland fans expecting more big things from him and the Cavaliers this season.

    He signed a contract extension during the summer and is under contract for four more seasons with Cleveland, which is hoping James can deliver the club its first NBA title.

    Like James, Gooden received a long-term commitment from Cleveland this summer, signing a three-year, $23 million contract as a restricted free agent. The 6-foot-10 Gooden averaged 10.7 points per game last season and the Cavs may count on him more on offense so James doesn't have to try and do it all.

    Gooden made his first seven shots from the field and finished 8-of-10 with six rebounds in 17 minutes.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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