Heat 107?Bulls 95
They got their rings before the game, then a challenge as it was winding down.
The Miami Heat responded to both.
Shane Battier went 4 for 4 from 3-point range, including a critical one from the right corner with 1:33 remaining, and the Heat wasted most of what was a 25-point lead before holding off Derrick Rose and the visiting Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night in the season-opener for both teams.
LeBron James scored 17 points for Miami, which got its 2013 NBA championship rings in a pregame ceremony. The Heat trailed 9-2 early, then outscored Chicago 52-24 over the remainder of the first half.
Rose finished with 12 points in 34 minutes in his first game since a serious knee injury in April 2012. Carlos Boozer had 31 points and seven rebounds for Chicago, which got within eight points in the final minutes.
But Battier’s right-corner 3 — a staple for the Heat — snuffed out the comeback, and Miami wasn’t in trouble again.
Pacers 97?Magic 87
Paul George scored 24 points, and Roy Hibbert added 16 rebounds and seven blocks, leading the host Indiana Pacers to a victory over the Orlando Magic.
The two-man tandem looked every bit as dominant in the season opener as they did leading the Pacers (1-0) to the Eastern Conference finals last season.
George’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter gave Indiana a 69-64 lead and sparked the decisive 17-4 run to open the fourth.
Hibbert nearly matched his career-high for rebounds (17) in the first half. He had eight points but left the game midway through the fourth quarter after injuring his knee in a spill underneath his own basket. Team officials said it was not serious and he could have returned.
But it was George’s 3 that provided the spark Indiana needed to seize control.
Victor Oladipo, the ex-Hoosiers star and No. 2 overall draft pick, had 12 points and three turnovers for the Magic (0-1).
Fans gave Oladipo a warm reception in his return to his adopted home state.