NBA: 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 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 visiting 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.
• Henry, Farmar spark Lakers: Xavier Henry scored a career-high 22 points, Jordan Farmar added 16, and five Los Angeles Lakers reserves surged past the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth quarter for a surprising 116-103 victory in both clubs’ season opener.
With Kobe Bryant watching in street clothes behind Pau Gasol and Steve Nash on the Lakers’ bench, Jodie Meeks scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers stunned their Staples Center rivals in Clippers coach Doc Rivers’ debut.
Blake Griffin scored 19 points and Chris Paul had 15 points and 11 assists for the Clippers.
• George, Hibbert lead Pacers: Paul George scored 24 points, and Roy Hibbert added 16 rebounds and seven blocks, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 97-87 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic.
• Barnes injured: Harrison Barnes will miss at least the first two games of the regular season for the Golden State Warriors with a left foot injury.
Jagr sets mark for game-winners
NHL: Jaromir Jagr became the NHL’s leader in game-winning goals, scoring on a second-period breakaway to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Uniondale, N.Y.
The 684th goal of Jagr’s 20-year NHL career, gave him 119 game-winners, putting him one ahead of Hall of Famer Phil Esposito.
• Toews has hat trick for Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews had three goals and an assist, Corey Crawford made 14 saves in relief of an ineffective Nikolai Khabibulin and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the visiting Ottawa Senators 6-5.
• Giordano sidelined: Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano will be miss six to eight weeks due to a broken ankle.
Messi finalist for top player
Soccer: Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Neymar are among 23 candidates on the short list for the Ballon d’Or, the award given to the world’s best soccer player.
The winner will be announced Jan. 13 in Zurich.
Messi has won the last four Ballon d’Or awards in voting by coaches, team captains and media.
• Chelsea knocks off Arsenal: Cesar Azpilicueta seized on a defensive blunder and Juan Mata also scored and Chelsea dumped London rival Arsenal out of the League Cup with a 2-0 victory.
Manchester United will be joining Chelsea in the last eight after Javier Hernandez scored twice in a 4-0 victory over Norwich.