Chris Trotman

Heat 120, Celtics 107: Miami fends off furious Boston comeback in season opener

Leandro Barbosa scored all 16 of his points in the fourth quarter and the Boston Celtics nearly erased a 19-point deficit, but the Miami Heat survived on banner night, 120-107, in the season opener on Tuesday night in Miami, FL.

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Heat 120, Celtics 107: Ray Allen lifts Miami

Rajon Rondo led the Boston Celtics with 20 points and 13 assists, but the Miami Heat coasted to victory, 120-107, in the first game of the NBA season Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, FL.

The Celtics only trailed by eight points at halftime, but Miami hit Boston with a knockout blow in the third quarter, leading 93-76 at the end of the frame.

As Boston continues to develop chemistry between a cluster of new guards and forwards, turnovers hampered the Celtics throughout the night. The Celtics had 10 turnovers at the half and they gave the ball away 15 times total.

Despite LeBron James missing most of the second half, the Heat survived primarily on Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade.

Wade and James played their game, scoring 29 and 26 respectively, but it was Allen who had something to prove Tuesday night.

Allen scored 19 points, by far the most from a Miami reserve, as the AmericanAirlines crowd erupted at any glimpse of No. 34 on the floor. He played sparingly through the first two quarters, but with James out with leg cramps in the second half, he came up huge for the Heat.

The men who replaced Allen in Boston, the defensive-minded Courtney Lee and the sharpshooting Jason Terry, came out firing in the first half as they combined for 19 points through the first two frames and focused on shutting down Miami's Wade. But in the second half they were virtually nonexistent, struggling despite big minutes from the duo.

While Terry and Lee struggled putting the ball in the basket, possibly the least talked about player on the Boston roster, Leandro Barbosa, showed up in a big way. Barbosa scored 16 points in 16 minutes as the Celtics fought back down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 23 points over 41 minutes in the loss.

The Celtics will have an opportunity to get into the win column on Friday when they return home to the TD Garden to match up with the Milwaukee Bucks.


Final - 10.30.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Boston Celtics 25 29 22 31 107
Miami Heat 31 31 31 27 120

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LeBron James injury: Heat forward leaves game

UPDATE: LeBron James returned to the Heat bench at the end of the third quarter but did not enter the game. James re-entered the game to start the fourth quarter. TNT reported that James left the game with cramps, and not because of an ankle injury.

LeBron James left the court late in the third quarter of the Miami Heat's game against the Boston Celtics in the NBA season opener with what appeared to be a right ankle injury, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. It was not apparent how, if at all, James injured his ankle.

Prior to the injury, James was playing at his usual high level, scoring a team-high 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 26 minutes. James and Celtics captain Paul Pierce led all scorers with 16 points at the break and James grabbed nine first-half rebound. After one quarter, James had scored eight points and had seven rebounds.

Miami currently leads Boston, 87-76, late in the third quarter.


LeBron James

#6 / Forward / Miami Heat

6-8

250

Dec 30, 1984

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Heat 62, Celtics 54: Boston trails at halftime

Rajon Rondo had eight assists in the first half, but the Boston Celtics trail the Miami Heat, 62-54, at halftime in the NBA season opener on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, FL.

Boston was careless with the ball, turning it over five times in the first quarter and 10 times total in the first half. The Celtics allowed the Heat to connect on 51 percent of their shots from the field and 55 percent from three.

Mere months after leaving the Celtics for the Heat, Ray Allen scored 13 points in 13 minutes in his debut with Miami. The men who replaced him in Boston, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, combined for 15 points.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 16 points and LeBron James had 16 for Miami.


Intermission 1 2 3 4 Total
Boston Celtics 25 29 54
Miami Heat 31 31 62

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VIDEO: Kevin Garnett ignores Ray Allen's greeting

No hard feelings? Not exactly. Kevin Garnett, who famously said that he "no longer has Ray Allen's number" after the NBA's three-point king left the Boston Celtics, where he played for five seasons and won a championship, and joined the Miami Heat for less money.

Allen, playing his first game as a member of the Heat, checked in for the first time with 2:45 left in the first quarter and made his way over to the Celtics bench to greet his former friends. Unfortunately for him, Garnett was not so welcoming, completely ignoring Allen's greeting (seen here).


Garnett's unfriendly gesture should not come as a surprise, as he was clearly hurt by Allen's decision to leave. Allen wasted no time making his presence felt, however, burying the first shot he took against his former team -- fittingly, a three-pointer. Miami led Boston, 31-25, after one quarter on opening night.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit SB Nation's team blog, CelticsBlog.

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Celtics may not be present for Heat ceremonies

LeBron James will be celebrating his first championship Tuesday night as the Miami Heat will raise their 2012 NBA championship banner and receive their rings, but their opponent -- the Boston Celtics-- may not be present for the ceremonies.

The ring ceremony will take place ahead of the game's 8 p.m. ET start, and Celtics head coach Doc Rivers hinted that his team may not be on the court for the ceremony and will stay on its regular pregame schedule.

Rivers didn't exactly say that his team would not be present for the festivities, but said enough to cause some doubt.



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LeBron James not focused on Heat celebration

LeBron James played the best basketball of his career last season, and the success flowed forth because of it. James carried his Miami Heat through a tumultuous Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics before displacing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals to win his first NBA championship. As if that wasn't enough, James went on to lead Team USA to an Olympic Gold Medal in London. Not too shabby, huh?

No doubt, James enjoyed that glorious run, but as far as he's concerned, that is in the past. When James and the Heat receive their championship rings prior to Tuesday night's NBA season opener against the Celtics in Miami, his mind will be elsewhere. Simply put, he wants to keep winning.

"Winning it was what I dreamed of, I never dreamed of actually having the ring ceremony," James said. "So I'm just like whatever. I think it's going to be a special night and I'm going to be excited for it. But the game is what I'm more focused on than actually receiving the ring." - ESPN.com

That's an encouraging sign for James and Heat fans, and a terrifying one for opponents. James, undoubtedly the best player on the planet, isn't satisfied with just one ring, and he's going to give his all to keep winning every season.

If that isn't the scariest thing you've heard all day, I don't know what is.



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Celtics vs. Heat: Can Boston really beat Miami?

We're not just talking Tuesday night's game, either. Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics have made it very clear that their goal is to unseat the Miami Heat, their opponent in the NBA season opener Tuesday in Miami, this season. Is that a realistic goal?

Seemingly, yes. Boston came within one game of eliminating the Heat, who would go on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals, after an epic seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics showed that even with an older core, they could keep pace with the most talented team in the NBA.

Consider this now, too. Boston was able to go as far as it did last season without an offensively talented bench. In fact, the Celtics had one of the league's worst benches statistically, but that did not stop them from willing their way to the conference finals and nearly the NBA Finals.

Now, with players like Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee and more, the Celtics bench is much more stable. Many have even gone as far as to say that Boston has the deepest team in the league this year, and that certainly bodes well for their regular season odds.

Once the playoffs roll around, teams shorten their benches, and that's a plus for Miami. However, the addition of a far more talented Celtics bench will help give the starters some extra rest throughout the season and allow them to keep pace with other teams when doing so. If the bench can keep the C's starters feeling fresh and healthy come playoff time, there's a strong chance they will be playing into June once again.

What do you think? Can the Celtics beat the Heat in the East?



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Celtics vs. Heat: Game preview, TV schedule & more

Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics tip off the 2012 NBA season with a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

Event: Boston Celtics (0-0) vs. Miami Heat (0-0) - Regular season, Game 1.

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. ET

Location: AmericanAirlines Arena (Capacity: 19,600), Miami, FL.

Broadcast Info: Tuesday night's season opener between the Celtics and Heat will be televised nationally on TNT and aired locally on Comcast SportsNet New England. The game can also be heard locally on WEEI (93.7 FM).

Odds: Miami is a 6 1/2-point favorite over Boston on Tuesday, per Bovada.

Celtics Roster 2012-13: Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Jason Collins, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Kris Joseph, Courtney Lee, Fab Melo, Darko Milicic, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.

Heat Roster 2012-13: Ray Allen, Joel Anthony, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Josh Harrellson, Terrel Harris, Udonis Haslem, LeBron James, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Mike Miller, Dexter Pittman, Dwyane Wade. Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra.

Celtics, Heat In Preseason: Boston went 3-5 overall in the preseason and 2-4 against NBA opponents. Miami was 4-4 overall in the preseason.

Celtics, Heat In 2011-12: Both the Celtics and Heat had successful seasons in 2011-12, but Miami had the upper hand on Boston, and the league for that matter, ousting the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals and defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to win the 2012 NBA Finals. Boston finished the regular season at 39-27 in the lockout-shortened 66-game season and survived lengthy playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers before bowing out to the Heat in the conference finals. Miami went 46-20 in the regular season, good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference, and encountered little resistance until the Celtics series.

Game Preview: It is finally here. Bitter rivals Boston and Miami will go toe to toe as the NBA kicks off the regular season Tuesday night, and there are plenty of storylines in this contest. First and foremost, it is a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals from a year ago, a series that Miami won in seven games after trailing 3-2. There is also the Ray Allen saga, as Allen left the Celtics -- where he had played for five years -- this offseason to join LeBron James and the Heat. Allen has not shied away from the media during his first few weeks with the team, either, making it pretty clear that he did not feel wanted in Boston. That hasn't caused much of a distraction for Boston, however, as Doc Rivers and the Celtics have said that they are content to let Allen keep talking. They will do their talking on the court. No doubt, both teams would like to win the opener, and Celtics captain Paul Pierce said that Boston is looking to make this a "statement game." There's a long road ahead, but Tuesday night's game is a perfect way to issue in the new season.

Prediction: Don't be surprised if Miami pulls ahead early, as they often do, but expect Boston to steadily work its way back, and this will be a tight contest in the final minutes. However, it would be tough to see the Heat drop this game after raising their banner. Final Score: Miami Heat 96, Boston Celtics 92.



For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit SB Nation's team blog, CelticsBlog.

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Paul Pierce: C's want to make 'statement' in Miami

When the Boston Celtics take the court Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, they won't be simply tying to survive. Instead, the rejuvenated green team will be trying to "make a statement," in the words of captain Paul Pierce, that they can be competitive with the defending NBA champion.

"We're really bitter with the way the season ended last year so we're excited to get back out there and get back to competition," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "We still remember Game 7 down in Miami and Game 6 here. We had two opportunities to advance to the NBA Finals, so that's still in the back of our minds. We're going to go down there and really try to make a statement." - CBS Boston

The Heat ousted the Celtics in that seven game Eastern Conference Finals series one season ago. Boston built a 3-2 lead after dropping the first two games of the series, only to see LeBron James and the Heat storm back to win the final two games emphatically and cruise to the NBA Finals, where they would beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.




For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit SB Nation's team blog, CelticsBlog.

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Celtics season preview: C's have healthy obsession

It's all about 18... and the Miami Heat. The new look, confident Boston Celtics have set their sights on beating their hated rivals from the south this season.

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Celtics vs. Heat: Boston opens season in Miami

Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics open the regular season against the rival Miami Heat at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, FL.

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Celtics tip off season Tuesday night vs. Miami

The Boston Celtics will be in the first game of the NBA's national television schedule, facing off against the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals.

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