EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Michael Redd scored 41 points and Maurice Williams added 23 off the bench to lead Milwaukee past the New Jersey Nets 110-96 Wednesday night.

Redd, who topped 30 points for the second straight game, scored 33 of his points in the second half, when Milwaukee outscored New Jersey 26-7 spanning the third and fourth quarters to take control. No. 1 draft pick Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 17 rebounds for the Bucks.

T.J. Ford added 21 for the Milwaukee. Both Williams and Ford were involved in an altercation in the fourth quarter that led to the ejection of Nets forward Richard Jefferson.

With the Bucks leading 92-79 with 4:45 left, Ford and Jefferson got tangled up and fell to the floor.

Then Jefferson and Williams began shoving and had to be separated, and both players were given technicals – though Williams was not ejected. Ford was called for a foul on the play.

Vince Carter led New Jersey with 25 points but missed 10 of his first 14 shots from the floor and was ineffective in trying to stop Redd. Jefferson added 18 for New Jersey.

The Nets, which had led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter, saw their lead disappear by the beginning of the third quarter and trailed by as many as 16 in the final quarter.

A night earlier, Redd scored 30 points in the Bucks’ 117-108 overtime win at Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the left-handed shooting guard had a quiet first half with only four field goal attempts, but came alive in the third quarter when the Bucks took their first lead of the game.

Pistons 108, 76ers 88

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The only difference was the coaches.

Richard Hamilton scored 37 points to lead the Detroit Pistons past the Philadelphia 76ers 108-88 on Wednesday night in a game that looked a lot like their first-round series six months ago.

With Flip Saunders taking Larry Brown’s place in Detroit and Maurice Cheeks replacing Jim O’Brien, the Pistons were still too tough on defense and balanced on offense for the Sixers.

Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson scored 31 points, but he didn’t have much help – much like in Detroit’s 4-1 series victory en route to its second straight trip to the NBA Finals.

Chris Webber had 16 points, but he was scoreless in the third quarter, and the other three starters failed to score more than eight.

The Pistons unveiled their 2005 conference championship banner before the game, then took control for good in the first quarter.

Heat 97, Grizzlies 78

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Antoine Walker scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade added 23 points Wednesday night as the Miami Heat defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 97-78.

Walker shot 10-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range in Miami’s season opener.

Shaquille O’Neal scored 12 points, and Jason Williams, playing his first game as the Heat point guard after four seasons in Memphis, finished with 10.

Despite holding O’Neal to four points in the first half, Memphis lost its fifth consecutive season opener, all at home. Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Eddie Jones scored 15 points. Damon Stoudamire had 10 points and five assists.

Memphis shot 34 percent from the field, and the Grizzlies’ three major offseason additions – Jones, Stoudamire and Bobby Jackson – were a combined 11-of-37.

The game was close until a Heat run late in the third period and the early stages of the fourth, when Miami pulled away.

Cavaliers 109, Hornets 87

CLEVELAND – LeBron James hardly needed any assistance from the hired help.

Cleveland’s All-Star forward, playing his first regular-season game with new teammates brought in to help get him to the playoffs, made six 3-pointers and scored 31 points as the Cavaliers beat the New Orleans Hornets 109-87 in their season opener Wednesday night.

James made five straight 3-pointers – four in a row during a 1:44 span over Hornets forward Bostjan Nachbar – and scored 24 points in the first half as the Cavs built a 21-point lead and buzzed the Hornets, who won their opener on Tuesday over Sacramento.

But New Orleans couldn’t contain James, who had lost his first game in his two previous NBA seasons.

The Cavaliers, whose collapse down the stretch cost them a playoff spot last season, spent $150 million in free agency this summer, signing Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, Damon Jones and re-signing Zydrunas Ilgauskas to make sure James is never absent from the postseason again.

Pacers 90, Magic 78

ORLANDO, Fla. – Ron Artest behaved perfectly in his return to the NBA on Wednesday night. He played pretty well, too.

Artest had 16 points, three rebounds and five assists, and the Indiana Pacers began life without Reggie Miller with a 90-78 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Artest started 1-of-7 from the field, but he shook off the rust in the second half and led the Pacers to victory with several big plays and strong defense. He finished 4-of-14 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the free throw line.

He converted a three-point play and made two 3-pointers – all in a 2-minute span late in the third quarter – that helped Indiana build an 11-point lead.

The Pacers held on from there and didn’t need any clutch shots from Miller, the face of the franchise who retired in May after 18 seasons.

‘Wolves 90, Blazers 86

MINNEAPOLIS – Dwane Casey’s first head coaching victory came at the expense of an old friend.

Kevin Garnett had 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Richie Frahm hit his first five 3-pointers on Wednesday night to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 90-86 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers and new coach Nate McMillan, who either coached with or played for Casey in Seattle for the past 11 years.

Darius Miles had 32 points and 11 rebounds and Zach Randolph added 18 and 13 boards, but the Blazers couldn’t finish off a fourth-quarter comeback in McMillan’s first game after coming over from Seattle in the offseason.

The new-look Timberwolves looked sloppy in the first and fourth quarters, but shot well enough in the second and third to pull out the victory. Frahm finished with 18 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 16.

It certainly wasn’t easy.

Portland rookie Jarrett Jack scored seven points during an 11-0 run in the fourth, and Miles was dominant down the stretch.

He had two straight steals and fast-break baskets, then blocked a shot and went coast-to-coast for the layup to cut Minnesota’s lead to 82-81 with just over 1 minute to play.

Wizards 99, Raptors 96

TORONTO – Antawn Jamison had 29 points and the Washington Wizards held off the Toronto Raptors 99-96 in their season opener Wednesday night.

Gilbert Arenas added 21 points for the Wizards, who escaped with the victory.

Jalen Rose had 20 points for the Raptors, but just two in the fourth quarter as he missed a number of shots down the stretch.

Down by three with 12.7 seconds left, Toronto rookie Charlie Villanueva threw up an airball on a 3-point attempt and Rose’s 3-pointer clanked off the front of the rim.

The trio of Arenas, Jamison and Larry Hughes helped Washington reach the playoffs for the first time since 1997 last season. Washington lost Hughes to free agency this past summer. Jamison also grabbed nine rebounds and finished 12-for-21 from the field.

Bulls 109, Bobcats 105

CHICAGO – Chris Duhon had the first triple double of his career, and the Chicago Bulls rallied from a 25-point deficit to a 109-105 overtime victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Duhon finished with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the season opener for both teams.

Tyson Chandler scored 11 points, including two shots in overtime that gave the Bulls a four-point lead, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Darius Songaila hit a 3-pointer that tied it in the final seconds of regulation and finished with 11 points.

The Bobcats led by 25 in the third quarter and were ahead 89-68 going into the fourth only to see it disappear.

Duhon hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 34.1 seconds left in regulation, and Songaila hit one from the top of the key to tie it at 98 with 5.1 remaining.

Gerald Wallace then inbounded the ball from the sideline to Raymond Felton, who missed a three from the top of the key as time expired.

Cavaliers 109, Hornets 87

CLEVELAND – LeBron James hardly needed any assistance from the hired help.

Cleveland’s All-Star forward, playing his first regular-season game with new teammates brought in to help get him to the playoffs, made six 3-pointers and scored 31 points as the Cavaliers beat the New Orleans Hornets 109-87 in their season opener Wednesday night.

James made five straight 3-pointers – four in a row during a 1:44 span over Hornets forward Bostjan Nachbar – and scored 24 points in the first half as the Cavs built a 21-point lead and buzzed the Hornets, who won their opener on Tuesday over Sacramento.

But New Orleans couldn’t contain James, who had lost his first game in his two previous NBA seasons.

The Cavaliers, whose collapse down the stretch cost them a playoff spot last season, spent $150 million in free agency this summer, signing Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, Damon Jones and re-signing Zydrunas Ilgauskas to make sure James is never absent from the postseason again.

Rockets 98, Kings 89

HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets found someone to help Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady carry the load on offense.

Jon Barry scored 24 points, outscoring both of Houston’s All-Stars, and led the Rockets to a 98-89 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

McGrady had 23 points after sitting out Houston’s last two preseason games with tendinitis in both knees and Yao added 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The Rockets have been trying to develop more scorers to complement their dynamic duo and acquired Barry in a December 2004 trade.

In the opener, Barry delivered, sinking 8 of 10 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. He also went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.


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