LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had a successful start to their title defense preparations.
James played just 13 minutes as the NBA champions opened the exhibition season with a 117-102 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue intends to keep James’ playing time to a minimum during the preseason. The superstar scored seven points and had six assists. Lue also rested point guard Kyrie Irving and forward Tristan Thompson sat out with a stiff left foot.
Jeff Green scored 19 to pace the Magic in their second game under coach Frank Vogel.
MAGIC: Mario Hezonja scored 17 and Evan Fournier 14. … Serge Ibaka (sore right knee), Aaron Gordon (sprained left ankle) and Jodie Meeks (broken right foot) all sat out.
CAVALIERS: Cleveland led by 26 at half. … Kevin Love scored eight points in 13 minutes. … Jordan McRae led Cleveland with 20 points and rookie Kay Felder added 14. … Guard J.R. Smith remains unsigned and there remains no progress in talks between the free agent’s representatives and the Cavs. … DeAndre Liggins started for Irving and had four points in 14 minutes.
UP NEXT: Orlando (0-2) doesn’t play again until Oct. 12 against San Antonio. Cleveland (1-0) hosts Philadelphia on Saturday.