The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

October 30, 2013

Bulls can't stop Heat's celebration

MIAMI — 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 shot from the right corner with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining, and the Heat wasted most of what had been a 25-point lead before holding off Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 107-95 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 regular-season 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.

“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.”

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