MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Heat opened their post-LeBron era with a winning group effort.
Chris Bosh had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Norris Cole scored a career-high 23 points after winning Miami’s starting point-guard job, and the Heat kicked off their season with a 107-95 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Dwyane Wade added 21 points for Miami, 12 of those down the stretch after he briefly departed with a leg injury. Luol Deng, part of the class assembled this summer after James departed, scored 12.
Marcin Gortat and Drew Gooden led the Wizards with 18 points apiece. Paul Pierce added 17 in his Washington debut, and John Wall finished with 16 points and 11 assists.
The Heat led by nine with about 9 minutes left, helped in part by a spectacular three-point play by rookie James Ennis — who took off from about midway down the paint, elevated over Rasual Butler and threw down a dunk while getting fouled. A layup by fellow rookie Shabazz Napier made it 84-75, before the Wizards came right back.
Washington peeled off eight straight points, with Otto Porter making a pair of jumpers that helped get the Wizards within one.
But Cole and Mario Chalmers made 3-pointers about two minutes apart to help Miami restore a seven-point edge late.
It wasn’t just James that the Heat were missing from last year’s Game 1 rotation. Shane Battier has retired, Ray Allen hasn’t decided if he will continue his career and both of those players scored in double digits in the 2013 ring-night matchup against Chicago.
Bosh came into the year knowing he would be getting more offensive looks than in his first four Miami seasons, and delivered. He averaged 16.2 points last season; he had 16 by the midpoint of the second quarter on Wednesday.
Wade left with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter, appearing to be dealing with an injury to his left calf. He got tangled up with Pierce and Garrett Temple while on the floor for a loose ball, didn’t even jump to contest the ensuing jump ball — which Miami somehow controlled anyway — and immediately signaled for a time out before limping slowly toward the locker room.
He returned with 5:59 left in the fourth.
Wizards: PF Kris Humphries (hand surgery) played after being listed as a game-time decision, while SG Glen Rice Jr. (right ankle) did not play. … The Wizards were also without SG Bradley Beal (wrist), along with forwards Nene and DeJuan Blair (both serving one-game suspensions related to a preseason incident against Chicago). … The Wizards’ most recent opening-night win was in 2009.
Heat: Wade made his 11th opening-night start, extending his franchise record. … It was the 11th straight home-opening sellout for the Heat. … F Danny Granger (sore hamstring) was scratched. … PF Udonis Haslem addressed the home crowd moments before tip-off, in particular thanking those who have been longtime fans. … Cole started, as expected, at point guard. Chalmers had that role five times in the last six Miami opening nights.
Wizards: Washington visits Orlando on Thursday.
Heat: Miami visits Philadelphia on Saturday.
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