LeBron James scored 26 points, rookie point guard Norris Cole came up with 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and the Miami Heat nearly blew a 20-point lead before beating the Boston Celtics, 115-107, Tuesday night in Miami.
Dwyane Wade finished with 24 points and eight assists for Miami, which got 18 from Chris Bosh and twice saw its lead cut to three in the final minutes. Cole delivered the answer both times with a pair of jump shots, and the Heat escaped.
Ray Allen scored 28 points on 8-for-12 shooting for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points and 12 assists and Keyon Dooling scored 13 off the bench.
Elsewhere: Rookie Jon Leuer converted a three-point play with 1 minute, 17 seconds left, helping the Milwaukee Bucks hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 98-95 victory in their home opener. . . . Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and Stephen Jackson added 16 for the Bucks, who were playing without forward Drew Gooden because of a suspension and several other key players because of injuries. . . . Marvin Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks opened a double-digit lead early and cruised to a 106-70 victory over the sluggish New Jersey Nets in their final home opener in Newark, N.J. Jeff Teague added 13 points, Joe Johnson had 11 and the Hawks got big games off the bench from Zaza Pachulia (13 points and 11 rebounds) and Vladimir Radmanovic (17 points) in finally opening the lockout-delayed season by embarrassing the Nets in a game in which the crowd was booing the Brooklyn-bound team by halftime.
For Sacramento fans, just seeing their Kings on the court was a victory after all the talk of moving at the end of last season.
Beating the hated Los Angeles Lakers in the season opener only made it sweeter.
Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and the Kings beat the Lakers at home for the first time in more than three years, 100-91, on Monday night.
"It was nice to be back," coach Paul Westphal said. "It was wild in there and our players really liked the feeling of that game. The fans were just fantastic."
Tyreke Evans added 20 points, John Salmons had 13 and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who had lost nine of 10 to the Lakers and five straight at home.
- Associated Press