NBA: Mavericks feel the Heat

The Miami Heat got the better of the Dallas Mavericks while the Chicago Bulls stunned the Los Angeles Lakers on the opening day of the NBA season.

As the shortened league program finally got under way after the summer-long labour dispute, the Heat recorded a 105-94 victory over the team that beat them in last season’s finals.

LeBron James led the way for Miami with 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists after the visitors had seen the Mavericks raise the championship banner before the opening tip-off.

The rematch on Christmas Day proved to be extremely one-sided, though, the Heat leading by as many as 35 points early in the second half.

Late fightback

The Chicago Bulls staged a late fightback to edge out the Los Angeles Lakers 88-87, battling back from 11 points down with three-and-a-half minutes remaining.

Point guard Derrick Rose, who finished the game with 22 points, put the Bulls in front with 4.8 seconds left. Loul Deng contributed 21 points for Chicago, while Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 28.

Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points including two decisive late free throws, to lift the New York Knicks to a thrilling 106-104 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Anthony split a tie from the free-throw line with 16 seconds left, while Amare Stoudemire added 21 points and Toney Douglas had 19 for the hosts.

Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 30 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 97-89 victory over the Orlando Magic. Ryan Anderson led Orlando with 25 points, including six three-pointers.

In the final game of the day, the new-look Los Angeles Clippers swept aside the Golden State Warriors 105-86 in California.

Blake Griffin poured in 22 points for the Clippers and recent recruit Chris Paul, who was acquired from the New Orleans, had 20 points and nine assists on his debut.