8:00 PM ET, October 29, 2013
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- They got their rings before the game, then a challenge as it was winding down.
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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 Chicago Bulls 107-95 on Tuesday night in the season-opener for both teams.
"You never know what to expect when you're trying to keep the main thing the main thing, and that's the game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But you can't deny the emotions and what a special moment it was for everybody in the organization because we know how difficult that was and how harrowing that was last season. So it was great to actually get the win after that to cap off a very good night for the Miami Heat."
LeBron James had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Miami, which got its 2013 NBA championship rings and raised the franchise's third banner 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.
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"We're not trying to pull close. There were a lot of corrections that we have to make," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It always comes back to the same thing -- our defense and our rebounding. And if we could have taken better care of the ball early on, we would have been in position to win down the stretch."
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.
"I think we had a lot to do with it," Allen said.
Said Rose: "If anything, I'm disappointed in the loss. My performance, I can easily change that by making shots and keep down the turnovers."
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.
The defending champs are trying to three-peat. The Heat Index.
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. 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.
But again, the Bulls weren't done, cutting the lead to 95-87 on a drive by Boozer with 2:47 left. They would get no closer, and James raved about Miami's balance.
"It's a team game," James said. "That's what this team is put together for."
Rose's start was promising early, with two drives for impressive scores. The Bulls led 15-10 when Rose checked out for the first time with 3:36 left in the opening quarter.
When he returned, the lead was gone for good. The Heat outscored the Bulls 13-3 in Rose's first stint on the bench, turning a five-point lead into a five-point deficit, and by then the Heat were off and running.
Over a 4-minute stretch of the second quarter, everything changed.
Rose's surgically repaired knee might be fine, but in the basketball vernacular, Cole broke the ankles of the 2011 NBA MVP -- starting a run that turned what was a tight game into a romp. Cole faked out Rose on the dribble, causing the Bulls' star to tumble over, and the Heat reserve connected on an 18-foot jumper that sent the Miami bench leaping from its seats.
"There was a lot of emotions going on," Cole said.
That began the 17-0 run. The Bulls missed nine straight shots, Rose getting blocked by Bosh on one, and the Heat went to work. Miami shot 7 for 10 during the burst, which was capped by a driving layup by James with 4:23 left, and suddenly the Heat led 41-20.
It was a runaway, and became a grind-it-out win.
Going back to last season's Eastern Conference semifinals, Miami has won five straight games over the Bulls. ... James is 31 points shy of 25,000 for his career, if including regular-season and playoff games. He would be the 28th player in NBA history to reach that milestone.
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 29: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls walks into the areana prior to the game against the...(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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MVP: Statistically, the answer here is Carlos Boozer, who finished with 31 points on 18 shots. But we'll give the nod to Norris Cole, who commandeered a focused second unit with near-flawless decision-making on both ends. He finished with 11 points (missing only two shots), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a game-best plus/minus of plus-17 in 21 minutes of action.
That was ... terrifying: Miami choked the life out of Chicago's offense in the first half, holding the Bulls to 12-for-40 shooting and trapping Derrick Rose on every single one of his attempts in the pick-and-roll. The defending champs were in playoff form from the opening tip.
X factor: Miami's bench. Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Norris Cole combined to make eight of Miami's 11 3-pointers; each of them scoring in double figures on a night where the Big 3 didn't consistently put the ball in the basket.
Next 5 Games
* Heat went 6-of-8 from corner 3s Tuesday, their most makes in the Big-3 era (2010-11) against the Bulls. Last season they led the NBA in corner 3s made and attempted, and were 4th in field-goal percentage on such shots (309-719, 43%).
All 6 of the corner 3s came off of assists and overall the Heat assisted on 70% of their field goals Tuesday, their highest regular season assist percentage against the Bulls in the Big-3 era.
Since Tom Thibodeau took over the Bulls in the 2010-11 season, they have allowed the fewest makes and attempts on corner 3s in the NBA. Only the Celtics, the team he was an assistant coach on before heading to Chicago, allowed a lower FG pct on such shots.
* Derrick Rose was 4-of-15 (26.7%) from the floor Tuesday and over half of Rose's field goal attempts came on drives to the basket. The Heat held him to 3-of-8 on those shots and forced him into 3 turnovers.[+]
While Rose is averaging nearly 23 points per game against the Heat in the last 3 seasons, he's only shot 36% and has turned the ball over 3.5 times per game. That is his worst shooting percentage against an opponent over the last 3 seasons (min 5 games).
Derrick Rose vs Heat, Since Start of 2010-11 Season
The numbers show that the Heat's role players should be the ones credited with the win over the Bulls -- not the "Big 3." LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were outscored by four points in 25 minutes on the court together. But when at least one of them was on the bench, the Heat outscored the Bulls by 16.[+]
Heat by 3-man Lineup Combinations vs Bulls
FROM ELIAS: The Heat are the 2nd team in NBA history to win 38 games in a 40-game stretch (across seasons). The other was the 2006-07 Mavericks, who also won 38 of 40.
D-Rose played his usual minutes in Tuesday's opener, but was not quite himself from the field and was less efficient with the basketball...[+]
There's something about Miami that causes Derrick Rose to struggle. He has 17 career games shooting worse than 27 percent from the floor, and 4 of those have now come against the Heat, twice as many as any other opponent. He has 2 games shooting under 27 percent against another Florida team, Orlando, and hasn't done it more than once against anyone else.[+]
Games With Field Goal Pct Under 27% - Derrick Rose by Opponent
Derrick Rose said on Tuesday that his basketball IQ has gotten higher. If that's the case, it should reflect in his assist/turnover ratio, which hasn't been great compared to other point guards.[+]
Derrick Rose Ast/TO ratio - Career
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