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CLEVELAND – Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson scored 19 points apiece and the Dallas Mavericks beat Cleveland 108-102 on Friday night, handing the Cavaliers their first loss of the preseason.
Dirk Nowitzki added 16 and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who stuck with their starters in the fourth quarter when the Cavs rested LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Kevin Love didn't play in Cleveland's third exhibition in four nights.
Irving returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right ankle and led Cleveland with 23 points. Tristan Thompson had 17 and James 12 before sitting out the fourth.
Dallas led from the outset, opening a 16-point lead in the first half. The Cavs, who struggled shooting against a zone defense for most of the night, were still within three points in the final two minutes but Brandan Wright scored underneath and the Mavericks held on.
Before the game, James said he wasn't worried that he, Irving and Love haven't played much together in the preseason. Each of the All-Stars has missed time with injuries or to get rest.
"I'm only concerned that we're all healthy when the season starts," James said. "We'll have time throughout practices and regular season games to make the adjustments that are needed. But we need to be healthy. That's all that matters."
Cleveland opens on Oct. 30 at home against the Knicks.
It was Love's turn to get a night off as Cavs coach David Blatt rested the forward, who came out of Wednesday's game in Cincinnati with a stiff neck after a collision. Love had played in Cleveland's previous four exhibitions. Veteran forward Shawn Marion also got the night off.
Dallas did just about anything it wanted to offensively early on, scoring 37 points in the first quarter and shooting 57 percent from the floor.
With owner Mark Cuban on hand, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle started his first five for this first time in the preseason. The Mavericks made their first 5 3-pointers and were getting wide-open looks at the basket as the Cavs offered little resistance.
Cleveland's defense tightened in the second quarter, and although James didn't score, he had an impact at both ends and the Cavs outscored the Mavericks 29-19 to pull within 56-55 at half.
James wasn't in the offensive flow early on and that was partially his own doing and partly because of referee Derek Richardson.
On a fastbreak, James was running the right wing when he bumped into Richardson and fell near Cleveland's bench. A few minutes later, James was again racing up court when he was slowed by Richardson, who was out in front of him and didn't get out of the superstar's way quick enough.
Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel sat courtside and his teammates Joe Haden and Jordan Cameron were also in attendance.