SCOREBOARD
Wednesday, Oct. 31
Dallas at Cleveland (8 p.m. EDT). LeBron James averaged 35 points on 53 percent shooting in two games against the Mavericks last season.

STARS
Tuesday
-Tim Duncan, Spurs, had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead San Antonio to a 106-97 victory over Portland.
-Carlos Boozer, Jazz, had 32 points and 15 rebounds in Utah's 117-96 victory over Golden State.
-Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Rockets. McGrady scored 30 points and Ming had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead Houston to a 95-93 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

LAST-SECOND HEROICS
Shane Battier made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left, and the Houston Rockets withstood a furious rally by the Los Angeles Lakers in a 95-93 victory on Tuesday night.

CELEBRATION
d, princess and baguette shapes - say ``NBA Champions'' on the face and show the team's spur logo. In all, 21 rings were doled out in the pregame ceremony. Eleven players from last year's team are returning this season.

STRONG IN DEFEAT
Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 95-93 loss to the Rockets on Tuesday night. Bryant finished 13-of-32 from the field and 18-of-27 from the line.

MAKING MOVES
The Dallas Mavericks agreed to terms with veteran forward Juwan Howard on Tuesday. Howard, who played for Dallas during parts of the 2000-01 and '01-02 seasons, can't sign with the Mavericks until he clears waivers Wednesday, the same day Dallas plays its season opener at Cleveland. To make room for Howard, the Mavericks waived center DJ Mbenga. Also, the Mavs exercised their 2008-09 contract option on second-year guard Maurice Ager, their first-round pick in 2006. ... Sasha Pavlovic agreed to a three-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, ending his lengthy holdout.

SIDELINED
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Randy Foye will be out several weeks because of a lingering knee injury. Tests revealed a stress reaction in his left kneecap, and the team said Tuesday the second-year player will be out indefinitely.

SPEAKING
``It's always a special game when you play after a ring ceremony. It's great memories. But we're back to work and ready to defend our title.'' - San Antonio's Tony Parker after a 106-97 victory over Portland on Tuesday night. The Spurs received their championship rings during a ceremony before the game.

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