LeBron James scored 17 points to lead the two-time National Basketball Association champion Miami Heat to a 107-95 victory against the Chicago Bulls, while the Indiana Pacers topped the Orlando Magic 97-87.
In last night’s other season-opening game, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 116-103 as Xavier Henry came off the bench to score 22 points and reserve Jordan Farmar added 16 at Staples Center. Blake Griffin scored 19 and DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers.
The Heat jumped out to a 54-33 halftime lead at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Shane Battier’s 3-pointer late in the first quarter started a 13-point run for the hosts and the Heat had a 17-point run later in the half.
“It’s a team game,” James told reporters. “That’s what this team is put together for.”
Chris Bosh scored 16 points, followed by Battier with 14 and Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade with 13 points each for the Heat, who received their championship rings during a pregame ceremony.
The Bulls were led by Carlos Boozer with 31 points and 20 by Jimmy Butler. Derrick Rose, who was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player three years ago and missed all of last season following knee surgery, was 4-for-15 from the field and scored 12 points.
At Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Paul George scored 24 points and Lance Stephenson added 19 for the Pacers, who trailed by four points at halftime before outscoring the Magic by 14 points in the second half.
Andrew Nicholson came off the bench to score 18 points for the Magic, Maurice Harkless had 14 points and Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo, the second overall selection in the 2013 NBA draft, each added 12.