LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 50 points to lead two-time defending NBA champions Miami to a 99-88 victory over Charlotte in their post-season opener.
James made four of the Heat’s 11 three-pointers and finished with 27 points and nine rebounds as the Heat seized the advantage in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.
Wade added 23 points and five assists for the Heat, who are trying to become the first club to win three straight NBA titles since the Los Angeles Lakers did it from 2000-2002.
The star-studded Heat finished out the regular-season with three straight defeats, and conceded the top seed in the East to the Indiana Pacers.
While the Heat are in familiar territory, the Washington Wizards were playing their first playoff game since 2008 on Sunday in Chicago – where they came away with a 102-93 game-one win over the Bulls.
Washington’s Brazilian big man Nene scored 24 points for the Wizards, who out-played the Bulls down the stretch.
In the West, San Antonio – led by Tim Duncan’s 27 points – rallied for a 90-85 victory over Dallas to open their playoff series.
Meanwhile in Houston, the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Rockets 122-120 in overtime to open their series.
The Spurs, trying to get back to the NBA finals after falling to the Miami Heat in last year’s championship series, trailed 81-71 with 7:45 left to play, but closed the game on a 19-4 scoring run to secure the win.
They host game two of the best-of-seven Western Conference set on Wednesday.
Duncan added seven rebounds for the Spurs, whose All-Star point guard Tony Parker added 21 points, six assists and four rebounds as San Antonio notched their 10th straight victory over their intra-state rivals.
“It’s a 48-minute game, and the last seven – you know, we’ve got to finish better,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was limited to 11 points and eight rebounds on 4-of-14 shooting.
For the Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 46 points – a franchise record for a playoff game – and pulled down 18 rebounds before he fouled out in overtime.