The Miami Heat gained a little revenge for last year's NBA Finals loss, spoiling the Dallas Mavericks' championship celebration with a resounding 105-94 victory on the opening day of the season.
LeBron James was on fire as Miami ran away with the game, taking a 97-65 lead after three quarters, before allowing Dallas, which never led, to make the score respectable in the fourth.
The game was part of a five-game Christmas opening day to the delayed and reduced 66-game regular season, after the five month lockout during the dispute between players and owners over a new collective contract.
The Heat had to wait in their locker room as the Mavericks raised their championship banner minutes before the start of the game as Dallas players, wearing "2011 NBA Champions" on the back of their tracksuits, celebrated.
But when the game got underway, finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and team-mates Jason Kidd and Jason Terry were swept aside by an impressive Heat, who showed exactly why they are the favorites for the title this season.
James scored 37 points and had 10 rebounds and six assists while Dwyane Wade contributed 26 points with eight rebounds and six assists, as the Heat's two biggest names offered an early reminder of their quality.
Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony shot 17 points in the final quarter to lead the New York Knicks from an eight-point deficit to edge the Boston Celtics 106-104.
Anthony, who joined the Knicks from Denver midway through last season, top-scored with 37 points.
Derrick Rose hit the winning basket with less than five seconds on the clock as the Chicago Bulls beat Los Angeles Lakers 88-87.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant, playing with a torn wrist ligament, scored 28 points but saw a potential game-winning shot blocked by Luol Deng on the buzzer.
Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Orlando Magic 97-89 on the back of Kevin Durant's 30 points.
ReutersTags: sport, basketball, united-states First posted December 26, 2011 13:09:10