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Knicks spoil James’ homecoming

CLEVELAND — LeBron James struggled from the start in his first game with Cleveland in four years, and the New York Knicks ruined the megastar’s emotional homecoming with a 95-90 victory over the Cavaliers on Thursday night.

James, who returned to the Cavs and his native Ohio this summer after winning two NBA titles in Miami, finished with 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting. He also committed eight turnovers and never looked comfortable on a night when the entire city — and a star-studded crowd — celebrated his comeback.

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and buried a jumper with James in his face with 25 seconds left to give the Knicks a 92-87 lead.

Kyrie Irving scored 22 and Kevin Love added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavs, who have some work to before they can start thinking about any titles.

James was greeted with a thunderous ovation before the game by Cleveland fans, who had been counting down the days until the opener since he announced his return in a touching essay on July 11.

New York built a seven-point lead in the third quarter and was up 86-77 on Anthony’s bucket with 3:07 remaining.

With James unable to find his shot, Irving kept Cleveland close and his jumper brought the Cavs within 88-85 with 1:43 left. But J.R. Smith hit a jump shot, and after James made a driving layup, Anthony knocked down his baseline jumper to put away the Cavs.

CLIPPERS 93, THUNDER 90: At Los Angeles, Blake Griffin scored 23 points, making two free throws with five seconds left, Chris Paul added 22 and Clippers beat Oklahoma City in their season opener to usher in a new era under owner Steve Ballmer.

Already without injured Kevin Durant, the Thunder lost Russell Westbrook to a hand injury in the second quarter. Perry Jones scored a career-high 32 points, making 9 of 11 free throws. The Thunder are 0-2, having dropped their opener a night earlier at Portland.

TIMBERWOLVES 97, PISTONS 91: At Minneapolis, Thaddeus Young scored 19 points and hit a big 3-pointer with 90 seconds to play to lift Minnesota over Detroit.

Caron Butler scored 24 points and D.J. Augustin had 20 points and six assists for the Pistons, who have opened the season with two straight losses on the road under first-year coach Stan Van Gundy.

MAVERICKS 120, JAZZ 102: At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and Dallas celebrated the return of two key pieces from the franchise’s only championship team in a home-opening victory over Utah.

Tyson Chandler, the center and emotional leader when Dallas beat Miami for the title three years ago, had 13 points and six rebounds in his first home game since leaving in free agency not long after celebrating the crown. J.J. Barea, the diminutive guard and 2011 NBA Finals spark who was re-acquired a day earlier, came off the bench and had four points.

WIZARDS 105, MAGIC 98: At Orlando, John Wall had 30 points and 12 assists, and Washington held off a late surge to beat Orlando.

Marcin Gortat added 20 points and 12 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures as Washington earned its fifth straight victory over its division rival.