Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics look for revenge against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the first matchup of the year between Boston and Miami on Tuesday night in Miami, FL.
Event: Boston Celtics (0-1) vs. Miami Heat (1-0) - NBA Regular Season, Game Two.
Date/Time: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: AmericanAirlines Arena (Capacity: 19,600), Miami, Florida.
Broadcast Info: Tuesday night's game between the Celtics and Heat will be televised nationally on TNT, with Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr calling the action. The game can also be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell in the radio booth.
Odds: Miami is a 9 1/2-point favorite over Boston on Tuesday night according to Bodog.
Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma, Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.
Heat Roster 2011-12: Joel Anthony, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Eddy Curry, Mickell Gladness, Terrel Harris, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard, LeBron James, James Jones, Mike Miller, Dexter Pittman Dwyane Wade. Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra.
Last Time Out: Boston was defeated, 106-104, in the season opener against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day. Carmelo Anthony drained a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left to put the Knicks up by two and Kevin Garnett missed the potential game-tying jumper at the buzzer. Rajon Rondo had 31 points, 13 assists and five steals while Ray Allen scored 20 points and Garnett added 15 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Bass had 20 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Boston, which shot 51.3 percent from the floor.
Miami defeated the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals in its season opener, 105-94, on Christmas Day. LeBron James finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks and Dwyane Wade added 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who shot 48.7 percent. James Jones and Udonis Haslem added nine points apiece for Miami.
Statistical Leaders: Rajon Rondo leads the Celtics in scoring (31.0 PPG), assists (13.0 APG) and steals (5 SPG) while Brandon Bass is the team's rebounding leader (11.0 RPG) and Jermaine O'Neal averages a team-high 2.0 blocks.
LeBron James is tied with Carmelo Anthony as the NBA's leading scorer after one game, averaging 37 points. James also leads the team in assists (6.0 APG) and blocks (2.0 BPG). Udonis Haslem averages a team-high 14 rebounds and Mario Chalmers averages 4.0 steals.
Storyline: Painful memories may resurface tonight for Celtics fans, as the C's face the Heat for the first time since being eliminated from the playoffs last year at the hands of King James and the new 'Big Three' in Miami. The teams are by and large the same, with Shane Battier being the new big addition for the Heat and Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox and Keyon Dooling making up the new major faces for Boston.
Miami had its way in the first game of the season against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks while Boston fell just short in a thriller against the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. Both teams had points where they looked really good and points where they struggled.
This is a rivalry game, for now. Both teams will likely finish in the top four or five spots in the Eastern Conference, but the Celtics and Heat are going in different directions. Miami is on the rise, having come two wins shy of an NBA title last season. As for the Celtics, an early playoff exit at the hands of the Heat had them regrouping this offseason. The C's continue to age, creating a lot of questions about whether or not this team can compete for a championship this season.
Regarding tonight's game, the Heat should have their way. Miami's offense appears to be clicking right from the start, while the Celtics took a while to get going in the opener. Also, the Celtics will be without their best player of the past decade -- Paul Pierce -- who continues to recover from a bruised right heel. Sasha Pavlovic, who didn't score and had one rebound in 15 minutes against New York, will once again start in place of the injured Pierce.
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen will have to pick up a lot fo the scoring load once again, provided that Rajon Rondo doesn't have another big 30-point night. Any way you look at it, the Celtics will miss Pierce. Period.
Players To Watch: Two of the best players in the NBA are playing in this game in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. It's almost a given that the two will perform and have 20 or 30 point performances. As for the Celtics, Rajon Rondo's distribution and addition offense will be important if the Celtics plan to be successful, tonight and in the future. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are also vital, as the Celtics will need every point they can get out of them.
Prediction: Last year, this game would have been a close contest. Yet with an older Celtics roster and more chemistry between James, Wade and Chris Bosh -- not to mention the absence of Paul Pierce for Boston -- this could get ugly. Unfortunately, I think it will. Final Score: Heat 98, Celtics 74.