Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul George scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out five assists and the Indiana Pacers took over in the fourth quarter of a 97-87 victory over the Orlando Magic in the season opener for both clubs. The Pacers maintained the core of last season's squad that took the eventual-champion Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals. Part of that nucleus, Roy Hibbert, finished with eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks before receiving a scare late in the game when he appeared to injure his left knee. He walked away under his own power after rolling around in pain and stayed on the bench for the final five- plus minutes with the outcome no longer in doubt. Lance Stephenson, starting in place of the injured Danny Granger, chipped in 19 points and David West added 13 for Indiana, which opened the fourth quarter on an 11-1 run to pull away. The Magic finished an NBA-worst 20-62 last season but stayed competitive Tuesday through three quarters. Their inexperienced but promising roster got a boost with the selection of Victor Oladipo as the No. 2 pick in the draft. The former Indiana Hoosiers All-American totaled 12 points in his debut. Andrew Nicholson scored 18 points in the first half but was held scoreless after the break for Orlando, which shot just 39 percent from the field.
Final Score: Miami 107, Chicago 95
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat took in once last chance to relish their 2012-13 championship season. Then it was back to business. The two-time defending NBA title-holders sent a clear message to one of the expected top challengers to their crown, using a torrid shooting display and a dominant second quarter to deal the Chicago Bulls a 107-95 loss in the season opener for both Eastern Conference contenders at American Airlines Arena. Seven Miami players finished with double-figure points in a balanced offensive effort, and the Heat outscored the Bulls by a 37-18 margin during the pivotal second quarter to put their opponent at a substantial deficit it could never quite overcome. Reigning league MVP LeBron James paced Miami's spread-the-wealth attack with 17 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds, while Chris Bosh netted 16 points and Shane Battier went 4-for-4 from 3-point range to contribute 14 points off the bench. Despite a 31-point outburst from Carlos Boozer, the return of Derrick Rose still produced an undesired outcome for the Bulls. The star point guard, playing in his first meaningful game since tearing his left ACL during the 2012 Eastern Conference playoffs, went just 4- for-15 from the field and had five turnovers while accumulating 12 points. Luol Deng managed only four points in the loss while being saddled with foul trouble for much of the first half. Jimmy Butler scored 20 points for Chicago.