LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Kyrie Irving is picking up right where he left off last season, displaying the same late-game composure that allows him to sink clutch baskets for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the basketball game tied 91-91, the point guard showed off his steely nerve by draining a three pointer with 44 seconds left to lift the Cavaliers to a 94-91 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Irving's dagger came from the top of the key and it was none other than LeBron James who fed him the ball.
"I tried to make a move for myself, get into the seams, but when I seen the defence collapse, I know where my guy was going to be," James said.
"He's a big-time player and it was a big-time moment and he knocked it down."
Irving's basket brought back memories of another game winner, in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals, when he nailed a step-back three from the right side over Golden State star Stephen Curry.
James and Irving combined for 47 points, as the Cavaliers squeezed past the Raptors in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals.
"He drove in the lane, got me a good look at the top of the key and I knocked it down. I work on that shot every single day," said Irving.
Irving scored a team-high 26 points while James finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, as the Cavaliers took to the road for the first time, winning in front of 19,800 at the Air Canada Centre arena.
The Cavaliers opened the season on an emotional night on Tuesday with a 117-88 hammering of the New York Knicks. Before the game they received their 2016 NBA championship rings and raised the banner at Quicken Loans Arena.
Kevin Love chipped in with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who defeated the Raptors in six games to reach the 2016 NBA finals.
The 24-year-old Irving dropped one of his five three-pointers helping the Cavaliers remain undefeated (2-0) to start the season.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with a game-high 32 points and seven rebounds while Kyle Lowry added 17 points and four assists as the Raptors lost for the first time this season.
In New Orleans, Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Klay Thompson had 28 as Golden State held off Anthony Davis and the Pelicans with a 122-114 victory.
The Pelicans fell to 0-2 despite another masterful performance by Davis. He finished with 45 points and 17 rebounds after accomplishing an league first with 50 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and seven steals in a season-opening 107-102 loss to Denver on Wednesday.
In Detroit, Tobias Harris haunted his former team by scoring 18 points as the Detroit Pistons built a 23-point half-time lead and then cruised to a 108-92 win over the Orlando Magic.
The former Magic forward added four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block for the Pistons.
Point guard Ish Smith finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, forward Marcus Morris had 17 points and centre Andre Drummond tallied 12 points and 20 rebounds.
Beno Udrih and Aron Baynes added 13 points apiece off the bench for Detroit.
Forward Aaron Gordon had 17 points and seven rebounds and point guard Elfrid Payton chipped in 15 points and six assists for the Magic.
In New York, Brook Lopez scored 25 points and the Brooklyn Nets held the Indiana Pacers without a basket for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and rallied for a 103-94 win.
Jeremy Lin contributed 21 points, nine assists and nine rebounds for the Nets, who held the Pacers to 15 points in the fourth quarter.