October 30, 2002
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Peja Stojakovic scored 17 and Chris Webber had 14 rebounds as the Kings opened a season of great expectations with a 94-67 victory over the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Gerald Wallace scored 15 and Damon Jones had 18 in his debut for the defending Pacific champs, who unveiled the first banner for team success ever hung at Arco Arena. Sacramento went a league-best 61-21 last season, winning 36 home games.
Wearing their new purple road uniforms and playing without their starting backcourt of Doug Christie and Mike Bibby, the Kings had no trouble with the Cavaliers, who made 24 turnovers and shot less than 33 percent. Ricky Davis led Cleveland with 17.
The raucous pregame ceremony demonstrated that Arco Arena has not lost a decibel of noise since last June, when the Kings lost Game 7 of the Western Conference final in overtime to the Lakers here.
"(The banner) up there is great, but it's not what we want," owner Joe Maloof told the crowd before the game. "You know what we want."
INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS: A record 67 international players are on league rosters for the start of the season, led by the Mavericks with five. The league said players -- active and injured -- are from 35 countries and territories, and are on 27 of 29 teams. Last season, there were 52 on opening rosters. In 1984-85 there were 10.
WIDOW RECEIVES RING: The widow of longtime announcer Chick Hearn received the first championship ring as the Lakers celebrated their third straight NBA title before opening the season against the Spurs. Hearn, the Lakers' only play-by-play announcer since they moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1960, died in August. He was 85.
HORNETS: Reserve guard Bryce Drew is scheduled for eye surgery today after taking an elbow to the head during practice. The surgery will repair an orbital wall fracture. Drew, signed as a free agent in July 2001, is expected to miss at least two weeks and will not be placed on the injured list.
KNICKS: Don Chaney received a year extension through 2003-04, his second since taking over for Jeff Van Gundy in December.
PACERS: Backup forward Jeff Foster signed an extension. Terms were not disclosed.
RAPTORS: Forward Lamond Murray likely will miss 16 weeks, twice as long as expected, after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right foot. Murray, Cleveland's leading scorer last season (16.6 points), was injured in a preseason game against the Nets.
WARRIORS: Venezuelan guard Oscar Torres was claimed off waivers. He averaged six points last season for Houston as the league's highest-scoring undrafted rookie.