LeBron James scored 17 for Miami in its season-opening victory over Chicago. (Hector Gabino / McClatchy)
Miami — They got their rings before the game, then a challenge as it was winding down. The Miami Heat responded to both.
Shane Battier (Detroit Country Day) 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 a 25-point lead before holding off Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, 107-95, on Tuesday night in the season-opener for both teams.
LeBron James scored 17 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.
Chris Bosh scored 16 points, Battier finished with 14 and Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers each had 13 for Miami, which had seven players score in double figures.
Ray Allen and Norris Cole each scored 11 for Miami. Rose shot 4 for 15 for the Bulls.
By halftime, Miami was rolling, up 54-33 — putting the game on pace for a 108-66 final, which would have exactly matched the score of the game in 2006 when Chicago came into Miami and spoiled the Heat franchise’s first ring night.
Not this time, though the Bulls made it plenty interesting down the stretch.
A layup by Butler with 5:34 left got the Bulls within 15, and after he missed the ensuing free throw, the rebound made its way to Kirk Hinrich — who made a 3-pointer that cut Miami’s lead to 91-79.
Hinrich fouled out on the ensuing Miami possession, and Rose checked back in with 5:14 left after spending the entire fourth quarter to that point on the bench. Wade scored seconds later, the Heat followed that with a stop, and James simply overpowered Luol Deng in the post on the next trip to restore the 16-point lead.
(At) L.A. Lakers 116, L.A. Clippers 103: Xavier Henry scored a career-high 22 points, Jordan Farmar added 16, and five Lakers reserves surged past the Clippers in the fourth quarter for a surprising victory in both clubs' season opener.
(At) Indiana 97, Orlando 87: Paul George scored 24, and Roy Hibbert added 16 rebounds and seven blocks.