- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MIAMI | The Big 3 were together for merely three minutes. LeBron James and Chris Bosh more than picked up the slack after Dwyane Wade’s preseason debut came to a quick end.

And with that, this era for the Miami Heat got off to a promising, but not perfect, start.

James and Bosh combined for 38 points in their exhibition debuts, and the Heat easily beat the Detroit Pistons 105-89 in the preseason opener for both teams Tuesday night.

“It was something I’ve waited for all summer,” James said. “To be able to be back on the court, it was great. The reception from the fans was awesome and it was great we were able to give them the same energy that they gave us.”

The outcome was meaningless, but the game wasn’t for Miami — not after Wade limped off just 3:17 into the game with a strained right hamstring. He went into the locker room shortly afterward, did not return, and could miss up to two weeks. Wade expects to be back long before the Oct. 26 regular-season opener in Boston.

“I think Miami’s seen me play for a long time,” Wade said. “And they’ll get a lot of time to see the ‘Big 3,’ as they say, our team play together.”

Bosh had 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. James, the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP who took his championship pursuit from Cleveland to Miami this summer, added 18, and the Heat weren’t challenged after running out to a 20-point lead by halftime.

Udonis Haslem added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat. Ben Gordon led Detroit with 17 points.

“I don’t really think they played that great,” Gordon said. “Obviously, we didn’t play that well either.”

By the final buzzer, most of the crowd was long gone. Most came to see the opening moments of this trio’s time together, and the fanfare was the sort simply not seen at most preseason games.

James walked from the bench moments before tip-off with the traditional stoic look. He filled his hands with rosin powder, threw it into the air to create a white cloud, then clapped his hands three times.

Same as always. Just totally different.

“The season,” James said, “is back.”

And when Wade left, James just took over.

He put much of his repertoire on display in the early going: no-look passes, drives to the rim, 3-pointers, even playing some point guard in the first quarter. It always wasn’t perfect — he airballed one try from beyond the arc, never saw a wide-open Bosh under the basket on another possession.

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