The Miami Heat began the season with a 108-96 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Prior to the game, the Magic paid tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre that took place during the off-season. It was an emotional moment for all in attendance and a touching gesture from the team.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. Orlando beat Miami by four points in the first quarter, before the Heat edged the Magic by one in the second quarter. When the teams headed into the locker room, Orlando held a three-point advantage.
The Heat used a strong third quarter to pick up the win. Miami outscored Orlando by 14 points in the third quarter alone to go up by 11. The Heat would go on to add on more to that in the final quarter.
Miami trotted out a starting five of Luke Babbitt, Justise Winslow, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. Miami could change the starting lineup often with a number of talented options on the bench.
Whiteside did what he does best with an across the board productive day. The center had 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. It was the first of what figures to be many double-doubles. Whiteside picked up double-doubles on a regular basis last season. The big man also added an assist as Whiteside continues to try and improve that aspect of his game.
Winslow almost had a double-double as well with his 15 points and eight rebounds. The second-year player also had four assists, a steal and two blocks in a highly productive game.
Tyler Johnson came off the bench and produced in a big way. Johnson should see plenty of minutes in Miami's rotation all season long. The guard had 15 points, six boards, three assists and a steal in the win.
Miami will play its first home game of the season on Friday against the Charlotte Hornets.