Basketball fans got their christmas wish Sunday when the long-postponed National Basketball Association season finally opened after a lengthy labor dispute. A dispute between team owners and players over such issues as salary caps and revenue sharing put the entire NBA season in peril. Training camps, pre-season practice games and the first 16 regular season games were canceled before a deal was reached last month.
The NBA will play a shortened 66-game season this year, and teams will cut down on the number of scheduled days off. Winners on the first day of the abbreviated season included the Miami Heat, who beat the defending champion Dallas Mavericks; the New York Knicks, who edged the Boston Celtics; and the Chicago Bulls, who rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers. The other winners were the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers.