NBA Opening Night: Miami v Chicago; LA Clippers v LA Lakers on TNT

MIAMI, FL (Sporting Alert) — Defending champion Miami Heat start the defense of their NBA title when they tackle the Chicago Bulls on opening night of action at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday.



LeBron James led the heat to back-to-back titles last season and the reigning MVP is looking forward to taking the courts when his team play host to a Chicago Bulls side that welcomes back a healthy Derrick Rose at point guard.

“We did some special things last year and this is an opportunity for us to look back at it one more time, but I definitely won’t lose sight of what’s in front of me,” a motivated James said.

After beating the San Antonio Spurs to lift the NBA crown last year, to the add to the title they won in 2012, the Miami Heat are now eye a third successive title, a peat that would see them joining the likes of Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtic.

The likes of James, Chris Bosh and  Dwyane Wade are also eyeing a fourth successive trip to the NBA Final.

“It would mean everything, man. First of all, it means that I’m doing my part and I’m helping our team get better,” James said. ”

It would mean everything to our team. That’s what we’re here for. We work our tails off every day.

“If it can pay off with another Finals appearance, we’d represent the Eastern Conference the best way we can.”

Tuesday night the Heat will come up against a Chicago Bulls team that the has its leader and the 2011 MVP, Rose back and a team that went an undefeated 8-0 in preseason.

“Our No. 1 goal is winning the title,” said Rose, who has averaged 20.7 points in preseason. “We’re not worried about anything else.

“We’re not worried about what people say about us or what’s going on on the outside. We’re just worried about the Bulls and how good we get every day.”

The Bulls will check on Joakim Noah before the start of the game as he remains questionable for season opener with a groin injury.

The star center did declare himself “100-percent” fit for the game, but no decision will be made until just before tip-off.


Also in action on Tuesday’s opening night is another title contender, the Los Angeles Clippers, who get its season off under new head coach Doc Rivers against city rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center.

Rivers have worked on his team during the trade and beside keeping All-Star point guard Chris Paul, the Clippers added

Paul should be happy with more weapons at his disposal, particularly with a deeper group of reserves. The Clippers added a very talented Darren Collison as backup and a host of three-points shooters, including Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick and Byron Mullens.

The Lakers, meanwhile, begin life without center Dwight Howard, who never really flourish in Los Angeles last season, while start guard Kobe Bryant is still sidelined because of an injury.

Veteran point guard Steve Nash is listed as probable for the LA Clippers clash because of a neck problem and head coach Mike D’Antoni could leave him out of this one with a clash with Golden State to follow on Wednesday night. Forward Chris Kaman has been ill the last couple of preseason games, but says he is ready to feature if called on.



Also tipping-off on opening night on Tuesday, the Indiana Pacers will take on the Orlando Magic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Star forward Danny Granger is out for the Pacers until November, after being ruled out of the first three weeks with a left calf injury, but everyone else is all set to go.

Paul George, Chris Copeland, David West,  Luis Scola and C.J. Watson are all ready to get the season underway, as Indiana look to make a push to reach the NBA Final this time around.

There is not a lot of expectations for the Magic this season, but there will be looks of attention on

For the Magic, all eyes will be on No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo, who put up some impressive numbers in preseason.

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