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In one of the NBA"s most anticipated season openers ever, the Boston Celtics jumped out to an big lead and then held off a late rally to down the new-look Miami Heat, 88-80.
The Celtics held the Heat to just nine first-quarter points, and took a 45-30 lead into the half. But in the third and fourth quarters, led by LeBron James, the Heat rallied, and got it as close as 83-80, with 1:10 left to play. But then Ray Allen hit a three to stretch the lead back to six points and Paul Pierce added a pair of free throws to put it away.
Allen led the Celtics with 20 points, while LeBron led all scorers with 31 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Rajon Rondo had just four points, but added 17 assists.
(Video via RCS)
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Ray Allen and Paul Pierce scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, as the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics held off the new-look Miami Heat, 88-80, in arguably the most anticipated regular season opener in NBA history.
The Heat grabbed everyone's attention in the offseason by acquiring two of the highest profile free agent acquisitions. Reigning two-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who fled Cleveland after seven seasons, and former Toronto All-Star power forward Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade.
The blockbuster moves by Miami gave them three players with 17 All-Star appearances between them and tons of championship expectations. James and Bosh both signed six-year, $110.1 million contracts, and Wade was re-signed by the Heat for $107.5 million over six years.
Miami's "Big Three" was not good enough to get past a tough Boston team on Tuesday night. James led the way with 31 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Wade and Bosh added 13 and 8 points, respectively, and shot a combined 7-of-27 from the field.
Allen made five three-pointers, including a key three late in the game for the Celtics, who lost in seven games to the Lakers in the NBA Finals last season. Pierce pulled down nine rebounds. Glen Davis ended with 13 points.
James scored 15 points in the third quarter to get the Heat within six, 63-57. Miami cut the deficit to four, 68-64, on a James Jones three-pointer with over eight minutes to play.
The Celtics responded with a Davis layup and Pierce trey to extend their lead to 73-64. The TD Garden crowd started to chant "overrated" after Pierce made three free throws and Davis hit a jumper to give Boston an 83-70 advantage with over four minutes remaining.
Miami quickly silenced the crowd with a 10-0 run. James tallied five points during the run, including a driving layup to cut the deficit to 83-80 with 1:10 to go.
Allen essentially put the game away at the other end with a three-pointer from the corner with 49.8 seconds left. A Wade missed three led to two free throws from Pierce for an 88-80 game with 27.2 ticks left.
Eddie House missed a jumper to seal Miami's fate.
James, with his new uniform No. 6, made a jumper from the right wing just 1:07 into the game. After Rajon Rondo made a reverse layup, James was good on another jumper. However, the rest of the half was dominated by Boston.
Shaquille O'Neal's alley-oop dunk sparked a 12-2 Celtics run. Allen capped the spurt with a layup and three-pointer to make it a 14-6 contest with 4:47 left in the first.
Miami trailed by seven, 16-9, following 12 minutes of action due to a 4-of-17 shooting performance.
Holding a 21-13 margin early in the second, Boston put together a 20-9 run to create some distance. Allen tallied six points during the flurry, which O'Neal capped with two free throws for a 41-22 lead with 2:13 to go until half.
The Celtics took a 45-30 lead into the locker room. The Heat shot just 11- of-41 (26.8 percent) from the field in the first half. For comparison, Boston went 17-of-38 (44.7 percent) from the floor.
Trailing by 19, 53-34, Miami went on an 11-2 run to get back into the game. After drawing a blocking foul on Pierce, James made a pair of free throws to get the Heat within 10, 55-45, with about 4 1/2 minutes left in the third.
The Heat scored the final seven points of the quarter to make it a six-point game. House made a three-pointer, and James made two free throws and a layup to cut the deficit to 63-57 after three periods.
O'Neal scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in his Boston debut...Pierce hurt his lower back late in the third quarter, but he returned to the game early in the fourth...The Celtics shot 46.4 percent from the field, while the Heat made 36.5 percent of their shots...Celtics forward Kevin Garnett had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
LeBron James scored a game-high 31 points in his Miami Heat debut, but it wasn't enough to beat the Celtics as Boston topped Miami 88-80 in the season opener for both teams at TD Garden.
Miami (0-1) trailed 16-9 after the first quarter and 45-30 entering halftime. However, James scored 15 points in the third quarter to help the Heat outscore the Celtics 27-18 in the period.
Yet the Celtics (1-0) were able to fend off the Heat in the fourth quarter, outscoring Miami 25-23 to preserve the victory.
Paul Pierce scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and also had 9 rebounds. Ray Allen scored 20 points and Kevin Garnett totaled 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Rajon Rondo only scored four points but had 17 assists, five rebounds and two steals in the victory.
Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh had just eight points through three quarters. Wade finished with 13 and Bosh finished with eight and also had eight rebounds.
Boston made 32-of-69 shots (46.4%) from the field while Miami made 27-of-74 shots (36.5%). The Celtics had 42 rebounds, 25 assists, six steals and 18 turnovers. Miami amassed 39 rebounds, 15 assists, 10 steals and 17 turnovers.
The Celtics travel to Quicken Loans Arena to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in their second game of the young season on Wednesday night. As for the Heat, they travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
LeBron James scored 15 of his 25 points in the third quarter as the Miami Heat cut the Boston Celtics' lead to 63-57 heading into the fourth quarter at TD Garden.
The Heat outscored the Celtics 27-18 in the third quarter after Boston took a 45-30 lead into the break.
James has made 8-of-16 shots and also has four rebounds and two assists. Both Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade have eight points through three quarters.
For Boston, Ray Allen leads the team in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting (4-of-7 3PT). Shaquille O'Neal has nine points and seven rebounds and both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have eight points.
Boston has connected on 24-of-53 shots (45.3%) while Miami has made 19-of-54 shots (35.2%).
Celtics captain Paul Pierce suffered a lower back injury late in the third quarter after attempting to take a charge against Miami's LeBron James.
Boston trainer Ed Lacerte said that Pierce was experiencing back spasms and was sent to the locker room for a massage.
Ray Allen leads all scorers with 11 points and the Boston Celtics lead the Miami Heat 45-30 at halftime of the NBA season opener at TD Garden.
Boston jumped out to a 16-9 lead after the first quarter and outscored Miami 29-21 in the second quarter.
Paul Pierce has eight points, Shaquille O'Neal has six points and six rebounds and Kevin Garnett scored four points in the first half for the Celtics.
Rajon Rondo only scored four points but had eight assists and a steal in the first half.
LeBron James leads Miami with 10 points and also has four turnovers. Dwayne Wade has seven points and Chris Bosh has four points and five rebounds.
Miami shot a dismal 26.8% (11-of-41) from the floor in the first half while Boston made 17-of-38 shots to shoot 44.7%.
In the first half, the Celtics had 25 rebounds, 12 assists and 11 turnovers. The Heat had 22 rebounds, five assists and nine rebounds heading into halftime.
The most anticipated season opener in NBA history is underway at TD Garden, and after one quarter, the Boston Celtics hold a 16-9 lead over the Miami Heat.
Ray Allen led all scorers in the first quarter with five points on 2-of-6 shooting. Newly acquired center Shaquille O'Neal is right behind him with four points and captain Paul Pierce had three points in the quarter.
As for Miami's Big Three, LeBron James leads the team with four points. Chris Bosh had two points and Dwayne Wade totaled just one point in the quarter after making a free throw.
Miami has made 4-of-17 shots (23.5%) while Boston has made 7-of-20 shots (35%) in the first quarter. The Heat lead the rebounding battle 12-11.
Prepare to see a lot of green Tuesday night in the Heat-Celtics game. Every fan that attends tonight's season opener will be greeted with a free, green Celtics' t-shirt on their seat. It's a couple hours before the game, but already it has created quite the emerald arena (via ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg's Twitter):
For more pictures from the pre-game scene, check out Chris Forsberg's Twitter.
(Sports Network) - Boston Three Party meet Miami Thrice.
Superstar Dwyane Wade is still the captain in Miami. He's still introduced last, and he's still the center of attention in all of the team's publicity material, but make no mistake that's all just pageantry now.
Wade has been joined in Miami by two of the highest profile free agent acquisitions in NBA history, the reigning two-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who fled Cleveland after seven seasons for South Beach, along with former Toronto All-Star power forward Chris Bosh.
Meanwhile, Wade's former running rate on the Heat's 2006 NBA championship team, veteran center Shaquille O'Neal, is scheduled to make his debut for a Celtics team that came up just one game short of an NBA title last year.
"I think the NBA did an unbelievable job of picking a great first game," Wade said.
"All eyes will be on the game in Boston, but I think all eyes will really be on Miami," Celtics coach Doc Riversadded. "We are the other team that is playing and we are going to show up. But I'm sure everybody is there to see Miami."
Wade, a former NBA Finals MVP and scoring champion himself, now has a lot in common with Derek Jeter in New York. Like Jeter with baseball's Yankees, he will always be the most popular player for his franchise but Wade is no longer the straw that stirs the drink in south Florida. In the Bronx, that title belongs to Alex Rodriguez. In South Beach, it took all of one day for James to seize the mantle.
James and Bosh kicked off a new era for the Heat with a combined 38 points as Wade went down early with a hamstring injury in Miami's 105-89 exhibition opening win over the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 5.
Of course, preseason wins -- heck, even regular season wins -- aren't what it's going to be about in Miami this season. In fact the Heat may want to embrace Billy Joel's "Pressure" as their anthem this season. Anything short of an NBA championship will be viewed as a disappointment.
The blockbuster moves by Pat Riley in the offseason that netted Wade, who will play tonight despite struggling with the hamstring for much of the preseason, two teammates with 11 All-Star appearances between them also brought a ton of expectations.
A potential minefield of off-the-court distractions await.
"I hope these guys embrace it," former NBA star Chris Webber said of the scrutiny the Heat's three stars will surely face. "Don't apologize for getting together; don't tell us why it happened. Just beat everybody and say 'I told you so.'"
Things are much more tempered in Beantown, where the Celtics are coming off another great season in which they were a couple plays away from winning a second championship in three years.
Led by their own big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen along with emerging point guard Rajon Rondo, Boston fell in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers, 83-79, wasting a 13-point third-quarter lead in the process, and losing the seventh game of the finals for the first time in the franchise's storied history.
Health is a main issue for the aging core of the C's that now includes Shaq. and Jermaine O'Neal.
Boston center Kendrick Perkins went down with a knee injury in Game 6 against the Lakers in The Finals and his absence was felt inside in the final game. Perkins underwent successful surgery in July to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and is scheduled to miss half of the upcoming season, forcing Boston to ink both O'Neals.
The Celtics will also be without guard Delonte West, who is serving a 10-game suspension for an off-the-court indiscretion. Meanwhile, rookie guard Avery Bradley is out after undergoing left ankle surgery.
For Miami, swingman Mike Miller will be sidelined until at least January after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament and fracture in his right thumb. Miller, who signed a free agent contract with Miami this offseason that was worth $25 million over five years, sustained the injury when he got his hand caught in a teammate's jersey in practice last week. To replace him on the roster the Heat signed veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse.
Boston swept the three-game season series with the Heat last year and has won five straight overall and 11 of its last 12 against Miami. The Celtics also ousted Miami in the first round of the playoff last season but this is obviously a far different Heat team.
"As far as the East, we're the champs," Rondo said. "But that's in the past. This is a new season. We're not going to go down without a fight."
The Celtics trimmed down their roster in anticipation of the season opener, placing rookie guard Avery Bradley, newly acquired Semih Erden, and injured center Kendrick Perkins on the inactive list for Tuesday night's game against the Heat.
Boston will go with an 11-man roster for the first 10 games of the season, as they'll be without will also be without guard Delonte West, serving a suspension for violating the league's conduct policy.
The Heat have placed injured guards Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller, along with rookie center Dexter Pittman, on the inactive roster.
O’Neal, signed as a free agent over the offseason, seemed likely to come off the bench with Jermaine O’Neal starting until Kendrick Perkins is ready to return from the inactive list. But with a rash of minor injuries keeping Jermaine to limited minutes, it will be up to Shaq to take the leading role at center come Tuesday.
Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics host the Miami Heat to start the 2010-11 NBA season. For the visitors, it will be their first time to debut their new-look roster (perhaps you heard: the Heat signed Chris Bosh and LeBron James in the offseason).
For the Celtics, meanwhile, this year presents somewhat of a final opportunity -- with the core of their roster not getting any younger, many point to this season as the last chance Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and company will have to win another championship. Boston fell just short of that goal last year, losing the Lakers in a seven-game NBA Finals.
The pursuit of Banner No. 18 begins Tuesday night.