An NBA doormat in recent seasons, the Cavaliers spoiled the Clippers' season opener with a 98-96 victory Wednesday night.
"It felt good out there, real good,'' Miles said after scoring 15 points and grabbing five rebounds in the win over his former teammates.
Ricky Davis led the Cavaliers, who were coming off a 27-point loss at Sacramento in their opener a night earlier, with 25 points. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 19 points, including the deciding 10-foot jumper with 2.8 seconds remaining, and Tyrone Hill added 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Cleveland coach John Lucas wasn't on hand because he was serving
the second game of a two-game suspension, but assistant Jerry Eaves
certainly liked what he saw.
"This was a good confidence builder for the whole group,''
Eaves said. "This is all about improvement.''
Miller had 15 points and 14 assists in his Clippers' debut.
Michael Olowokandi added 18 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles,
but missed two jumpers in the closing minute.
The Clippers haven't won an opener since 1996.
Miller, who led the league with 10.9 assists per game last
season, wasn't pleased with his first game for Los Angeles.
"I was just trying to make plays, trying to get people the ball
in the right places. It didn't really flow like I wanted it to, as
far as getting the transition going and getting some easy points,''
he said. "We didn't make it easy on ourselves.
"We played bad basketball.''
The Cavaliers trailed 94-90 with 2:45 left, but Ilgauskas made a pair of free throws and Hill tied it with a layup. After Hill and Davis each made one of two free throws, the Clippers' Corey Maggette tied it at 96-all on a putback with 7.3 seconds remaining.
Los Angeles' Elton Brand, back from knee surgery, didn't play in
the fourth quarter and was 0-for-6 for the game.
Los Angeles committed 17 turnovers to Cleveland's 10 and the Clippers looked out of sync, probably because they didn't have much of a chance to work together -- and get Miller used to his teammates -- during the preseason because of various ailments.
The game was tied at 70 heading into the fourth quarter, and stayed close.
The Clippers led throughout the first half, including a
nine-point edge at 39-30 with 4:36 left in the second quarter, but
the Cavaliers would not let them pull away.
Davis and Miles had four points apiece in the final 3:20 of the
half to help Cleveland narrow the gap to 48-45.
In their opening loss to the Kings the previous night, the Cavaliers committed 24 turnovers and shot 32 percent.
Lucas drew a two-game suspension last May for holding offseason workouts with high school star LeBron James.
The crowd of 16,822 was some 3,000 short of a sellout. ...
Brand underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee during the
offseason, and Olowokandi was sidelined first by tendinitis in his
left knee, then by a strained muscle in his left hip. Richardson
was hampered by a strained ligament. ... The Clippers went from 15
wins in the 1999-2000 season to 30 the following season and 39 last
season. ... The Cavaliers have lost at least 50 games each of the
past three seasons, including 29-53 last year.