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.
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