Heat 107, Bulls 95

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat received their NBA championship rings and then ruined Derrick Rose's return to action, beating the Chicago Bulls 107-95 Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami's LeBron James, the reigning league MVP, had a fairly quiet night with a team-high 17 points to go with six rebounds and eight assists in the season opener for both teams.
The big story was the comeback of Rose, who played his first real game in 553 days -- since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a 2012 playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rose finished Tuesday's game with 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting, and he looked rusty on defense.
The Heat outscored the Bulls 37-18 in the second quarter to take control of the game. The Heat led by as many as 25 points before Chicago cut the margin to eight with 2:46 left in the game. Jimmy Butler (20 points) then missed on a drive, and that was as close as the Bulls got.
Miami had seven players score in double figures. Chris Bosh had 16 points, Shane Battier scored 14, and Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers added 13 apiece.
Chicago was led by forward Carlos Boozer, who had a game-high 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting. The rest of the Bulls were fairly quiet, including center Joaquin Noah, who started despite an injured groin. He was held to two points, although he did grab 11 rebounds.
On the first possession of the game, Rose's dribble was stolen by Mario Chalmers, who dished to Udonis Haslem for a dunk. After that, though, the Heat missed nine consecutive shots and trailed 9-2.
The Heat closed the first quarter with a 7-0 run to grab a 17-15 lead. Chicago forward Luol Deng ended the quarter with three fouls.
Butler picked up his third foul with 9:39 left in the first half, furthering handicapping the Bulls.
While both players sat out with foul trouble, the Heat put up a 17-0 second-quarter run. Miami finished the half with a 54-33 lead.
The Heat maintained their large lead through three quarters, going up 78-58. The last basket of the quarter was a Chris Andersen dunk that was set up by a look-away bounce pass from James.
Andersen was part of a strong four-man Heat bench, a reserve unit that also included point guard Norris Cole and shooters Ray Allen and Battier. Cole and Allen each scored 11 points.
The quartet combined for 42 points on 16-of-25 shooting. The Bulls' bench finished with 26 points.
NOTES: The Heat are trying to become the first team to participate in four straight NBA Finals since the Boston Celtics did it 27 years ago. Miami is also trying to become the first team to win three straight NBA titles since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. ... Rose said his vertical leap has increased from 37 inches before his injury to 42. ... Tuesday was the 10th anniversary of James' NBA debut, when he scored 25 points and dished nine assists for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. ... Next up for the Bulls is their home opener, Thursday against the New York Knicks. ... Next up for the Heat is a Wednesday game at Philadelphia.

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