PHILADELPHIA // Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh have their first win with Miami, and the Big Three got help from some big three-pointers in the Heat's 97-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last night.
Playing with purpose a night after an 88-80 loss in a hyped showdown with Boston, the three looked as if they still need some games to get used to playing with each other. Only Wade, with 30 points, looked particularly sharp against the Sixers. The Heat hit three straight three-pointers in the third quarter to bust open an eight-point half-time lead.
James scored 16 points and Bosh had 15.
James and the Heat just could not squash the Sixers, who went on a 15-3 run late in the fourth to make it surprisingly competitive.
Wade's tough driving lay-up gave him 30 points - on 10-for-20 shooting - and sealed the win.
A James - not LeBron - led the Heat. James Jones hit 6-of-9 threes and scored 20 points. The Heat shot 50 per cent from three-point range - enough to make up for tough shooting nights from James and Bosh (combined 11 for 24).
Up next, Friday's home opener against Orlando.
For all the buzz surrounding the Heat, there were plenty of patches of empty seats in the announced sell-out crowd of 20,389 in the Sixers' home opener.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 16 points in his first NBA game. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young had 15.
James heard the loudest boos when he was introduced from fans that can deliver them as vociferously as any city in the league. He heard them occasionally during the game, but the volume was turned down and the noise mostly disappeared as the Heat pulled away.
One fan's sign called James "LeBum, the lyin' King" while another read "I witnessed no championship."
James was slow to warm up, and played the first quarter like it was a pre-season game. He was whistled for a travel, an offensive foul and threw the ball out of bounds off a drive down the lane.
James drew a crowd of onlookers during warm-ups, including several members of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Before the game, James said he already forgotten all about the Boston loss. He did not seem to care about suggestions that teams were playing harder with a chance to shine against the marquee team in the NBA.
"I've been a friend of that bulls-eye for a long time," James said.
Jones was the one right on target.
He hit four threes during a 16-2 run in the second quarter that gave the Heat a 49-41 lead at the break. For most of the first half, the fired-up Sixers gave Miami a bit of a run. In Doug Collins' first game as coach, the Sixers led 26-24 until Jones sparked a 10-0 run with the first three of his spurt.
The Heat kept rolling from long distance in the third quarter. Jones hit two around one from Eddie House and the lead was 76-51. Miami was up 80-54 after three.
As for the Sixers, Collins said before the game his pieces did not all fit. It showed when he started Jason Kapono - one of the team leaders in DNP-CD's last season. Kapono and starters Spencer Hawes and Jru Holiday combined for eight points.