The players 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 three-point range, including a critical one from the right corner with 1 minute 33 seconds 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 Miami 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 three snuffed out the comeback, and Miami wasn’t in trouble again.
“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,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said of the ring ceremony. “It was great to actually get the win after that to cap off a very good night for the Miami Heat.”
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.
“I’m disappointed in the loss,” said Rose, who shot 4 for 15. “My performance, I can easily change that by making shots and keep down the turnovers.”
By halftime, Miami was rolling, up 54-33. But 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 three-pointer that cut it to 91-79.
Later, the Bulls cut it to 95-87 on a drive by Boozer with 2:47 left. They would get no closer, and Miami held on despite giving up 37 points in the final quarter.
Rose’s start was promising early, with two early 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 four-minute stretch of the second quarter, everything changed.
Norris Cole helped start a run that turned 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 began the 17-0 run during which the Bulls missed nine straight shots. Miami shot 7 for 10 in the burst that ma†de it 41-20.
● PACERS 97, MAGIC 87: Paul George scored 24 points and Roy Hibbert added 16 rebounds and seven blocks, leading Indiana to a season-opening win over Orlando.
George’s buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the third quarter gave host Indiana a 69-64 lead and he sparked a 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.
Victor Oladipo, the former DeMatha and Indiana star who was the No. 2 overall draft pick, had 12 points and three turnovers in his debut for the Magic.