No championship banner, no ring ceremony, but the buzz was back.
Some of it was familiar, like Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade making shots when needed.
Some of it was new, like Norris Cole starting and scoring at point guard.
Some of it was refreshing, like rookie point guard Shabazz Napier playing meaningful minutes.
And some of it Wednesday night was as astonishing as what The-Guy-Who-Left provided, with rookie swingman James Ennis doing something horrible to former Heat forward Rasual Butler with a rim-rattling, roof-raising fourth-quarter dunk that sent the sellout crowd at AmericanAirlines Arena into delirium.
Miami Heat 107, Washington Wizards 95.
A new era with a sizzling start.
"The energy in the building was great," coach Erik Spoelstra said.
And the players noticed.
"That's the loudest it's been for an opener," guard Mario Chalmers said. "That's what we need."
Bosh led the Heat with 26 points and 15 rebounds, the first time he has reached those point and rebound totals in the same game with the Heat.
"I need a couple of I-told-you-so moments like that during the season," he exhaled after a night he shot 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.
Cole added a career-high 23 points.
"I wanted to come out and be aggressive," he said.
Wade added 21 points, including 12 in the Heat's 35-point fourth quarter, after he briefly went to the locker room to have a calf injury handled.
"We know we have to get off to a good start this season to get where we want to go," Bosh said.
For one night, LeBron who?
It was a close game.
And then it wasn't.
And the plays came from just about everywhere and everyone.
"Everyone," Cole said, "is capable of contributing."
It all started with Bosh.
"We just ran our offense through him," Spoelstra said.
But they ran it through Cole, as well.
"I wasn't even expecting that," Spoelstra said. "I just wanted him to quarterback our team."
Then there was Ennis.
"Obviously," Spoelstra said, "James played with incredible energy."
Even when it was over, Ennis was unsure of the actual damage inflicted.
"I want to see it in slo-motion," he quipped.
With the Heat 5 of 24 on 3-pointers to that stage, including 0 for 6 by fill-in power forward Shawne Williams, Chalmers then converted from behind the arc for an 88-83 Heat lead.
Wade and Bosh then kept the Heat afloat with their scoring, but a series of Heat fouls allowed Washington to stay close from the line.
But not close enough.
The Heat had pushed to an 84-75 lead early in the fourth quarter after Ennis posterized Butler with his dunk and then Napier scored in a transition layup.
Yes, actual rookies helping the Heat in big moments.
"I thought they gave us a really nice boost," Spoelstra said.
But by the time Wade reentered, the Heat's lead was down to 84-81.
That's when Spoelstra turned back to his veterans, with Ennis and Napier sent back to the bench.
The strategy worked.
After scoring 19 points in the first half, Bosh went scoreless in the third quarter. Even with Wade leaving late in the third with what appeared to be a sore calf, the Heat were able to take a 72-70 lead into the fourth.
After scoring 10 in the first half, Cole added 10 more in the third to keep the Heat afloat, with Wade 4 of 11 to that stage.
With Wednesday's start, it extended Wade's franchise record to 10 opening-night starts.
With Josh McRoberts still not back from his offseason toe surgery, and with Danny Granger and Udonis Haslem dealing with nagging injuries that had it questionable whether either would dress, Spoelstra had to reshuffle his rotation.
That had rookies Ennis and Napier both entering in the first quarter.
Spoelstra did stay with his plan of starting Cole at point guard and then having Chalmers enter as the first shooting guard off the bench.
Spoelstra also risked a brief stretch in the first quarter when neither Bosh nor Wade was on the court.
That left the Heat down 28-22 at the end of the opening period.
But with Bosh stepping up after scoring his only first-quarter points on a game-opening 3-pointer, the Heat were able to push to a 53-52 halftime lead.
Bosh closed the first half with 19 points, shooting 6 of 9 from the field over the opening two periods, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers.
While the Heat were without McRoberts, Granger and Haslem, the Wizards were lacking starting power forward Nene, due to a preseason scuffle, and starting shooting guard Bradley Beal, due to a wrist injury.
In addition to being without Nene and Beal, the Wizards also were without forward DeJuan Blair, who also was suspended for that preseason scuffle against the Chicago Bulls, and swingman Martell Webster, who is dealing with a back ailment.
With Nene and Beal out, the Wizards opened with journeyman Drew Gooden at power forward and former Heat camp hopeful Garrett Temple at shooting guard.
Despite the offseason loss of James to the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency, the Heat recorded their 206th consecutive sellout, which owner Micky Arison announced on his Twitter account before the opening tip.
The Heat are now 15-12 all-time in season openers, having won four in a row, as well as their last seven home openers. The Heat have now won their last five games against the Wizards in Miami.
The Heat next play Saturday in the Philadelphia 76ers' home opener.
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