The Miami Heat overcame an injury to star Jimmy Butler and an inspired performance from Zion Williamson to defeat the visiting New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA on Friday.
Williamson, making his Christmas Day debut, produced his second double-double in two games this season with 32 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs.
Brandon Ingram added 28 points, but it was not enough as the Heat won 111-98.
Miami were led by Duncan Robinson, who had 23 points and made seven three-pointers – tying the Christmas single-game mark set by Brandon Ingram last year.
“It’s super special to play in Christmas,” Robinson said. “I certainly don’t take it for granted.”
Bam Adebayo had 17 points while Goran Dragic added 18 points and a game-high nine assists off the bench.
Butler, who had stiffness in his right ankle, had six rebounds, five assists and four points in 16 minutes. The Heat made it to the NBA Finals last season but were just 6-9 without Butler.
Miami also made a change to their starting lineup, benching Maurice Harkless and elevating Meyers Leonard, who scored nine points on three-for-five three-point shooting. Harkless did not score.
Avery Bradley, who won an NBA title last season with the Lakers, made his Heat debut and scored 12 points.
Bradley, who signed as a free agent last month, also hounded New Orleans’ JJ Redick, holding him to eight points on one-for-seven shooting.
Milwaukee Bucks also recorded their first win of the season as they comprehensively beat Golden State Warriors 138-99.
Milwaukee narrowly lost to the Boston Celtics in their season-opener but responded with an impressive display in their home opener.
Khris Middleton led the way with 31 points, while back-to-back league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points and claimed 13 rebounds.
Steph Curry had 19 points for Golden State, which moved him up to second in the franchise’s all-time scoring list.
Rookie James Wiseman added 17 points but the Warriors suffered a second successive heavy defeat to start their campaign.
In later Friday matches, Boston Celtics are at home to Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks travel to defending champions LA Lakers while LA Clippers visit Denver Nuggets.