HEAT 120, CELTICS 107

Miami Heat runs rings around Celtics in opener 120-107

 

Dwyane Wade scored 29 points, LeBron James added 26 points and 10 rebounds before sitting with cramps, and Ray Allen scored 19 in his Heat debut.




jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Miami does nothing modestly — not the beach, not the bodies and certainly not the hoops.

On Tuesday night by the bay, the city’s basketball team celebrated its 2012 NBA championship with a spectacle befitting this town.

Indoor fireworks signaled the pregame ring ceremony’s grand finale. Synchronized blinking bracelets on every fan’s wrist kept time with the music as the championship banner was lifted into the rafters.

The players wore uniforms and shoes trimmed in championship gold. Larry O’Brien Trophies were on the backs of the warm-up jackets.

And, of course, replica rings were on sale in the gift shop for $10.

Then the game started and the choreographed show and the oversized plastic rings were made small by comparison.

Oftentimes, NBA defending champions under perform on the night they receive their rings. Last season’s Dallas Mavericks, for example. The Heat suffered no ring hangover, defeating the Boston Celtics 120-107 on opening night of the 2012-2013 season.

Rocking arena

AmericanAirlines Arena rocked during the pregame festivities but the noise reached its audible apex when LeBron James powered home a two-handed dunk in transition at the end of the end of the first half. The field goal gave Miami an eight-point lead and the Celtics never led in the final two quarters.

“It was an emotional time for all of us in the organization … but our guys did a very good job of compartmentalizing and we turned the switch as soon as we went to warm-ups,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

James, fresh off the best season of his career and an Olympic gold medal this summer, had 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds and three assists. He was forced out of the game twice in the second half with leg cramps, leaving for good early in the fourth quarter.

The Heat led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter but the Celtics whittled the deficit to four with 2:10 left. With James out, Chris Bosh took over and scored seven consecutive points to put the game away. Bosh finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, going 8 of 15 from the field. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 29 points.

“Chris is as steady as they come and he came up big in the fourth quarter when maybe we were a little fatigued,” Spoelstra said. “He does that, for some reason, quietly around the league but we understand how important he is to the success of our team.”

Ugly scene

Bosh gave the Heat a 118-107 lead with 43.6 seconds left and it got ugly from there. Celtics guard Rajon Rondo picked up a flagrant-1 foul when he bumped into Wade with 16.9 seconds remaining. The players had to be separated and Rondo was then pulled off the court by Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

“It was a punk play by him,” Wade said. “He clothes-lined me with two hands.”

Wade retreated to the scorer’s table during the drama and glowered in Rondo’s direction. Mario Chalmers then walked over and slapped Wade’s hands with vigor. The game was over.

“Rondo sucks,” the crowd chanted.

All week, Ray Allen’s words have been measured — almost apologetic — when asked about his divorce with the Boston Celtics and his soured relationship with Rondo. On the court, he held nothing back. He drilled his first three-point attempt of the game and shook his hand in excitement as he jogged back on defense.

“We got Ray,” the crowd chanted several times during the game.

He had 11 points in his first 12 minutes of action in the first half. He finished with 19 points in 31 minutes, going 5 of 7 from the field. Before the game, Allen sat on the hardwood in the northeast corner of the court during the Heat’s championship ceremony. It was a surreal experience for the future Hall of Famer. After all, his final game of last season — his final game with the Celtics — was on the same court last spring.

Allen plays big

Allen’s 19 points placed him second in franchise history ahead of Kevin Edwards for points off the bench in a debut game. Willie Burton holds the record at 25 points.

Allen’s three-pointer off the glass gave the Heat a 49-44 lead with 5:06 left in the second quarter. Bosh followed with a dunk and the Heat’s lead grew to eight points (62-54) at halftime.

“A Hall of Famer coming off the bench,” James said of Allen. “It’s a treat for us and just another example of the sacrifices that guys make to play here.”

James began the second half with a three-pointer and had a productive third quarter despite the cramps. He drilled a 22-footer from the left wing to put the Heat ahead by 19 at the beginning of the fourth.

Chalmers had eight points and 11 assists. Shane Battier had a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with six points. Rashard Lewis was productive of the bench with 10 points.

Read more Top Sports Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Phillies fans show their desire to have Pete Rose inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday, July 30, 1995, before the start of the Hall of Fame Inductions in Cooperstown, N.Y.

    In My Opinion

    Greg Cote: It’s time to welcome Pete Rose back to baseball

    Twenty-five years ago this week Pete Rose was banished for life from baseball, and thus from the red carpet ride he would have taken into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Sympathy hasn’t often come his way since, partly because Rose can come off as irascible, unlikable, his own worst enemy — but mostly because he agreed to his ban, with a swipe of a pen trading immortality for indelible notoriety.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">back in the flow: </span>Hurricanes quarterback Jake Heaps gets ready to fire a pass at Wednesday’s practice.

    um football

    University of Miami QB Jake Heaps healthy, happy to be back on field

    Hurricanes quarterback Jake Heaps missed Monday’s scrimmage because of a sore elbow but said he felt good Wednesday during both practices.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Big fish</span>: Giancarlo Stanton is in line for a mega payday, and the Marlins can’t afford to let him walk.

    David J. Neal: The bottom line: Miami Marlins are building a contender as long as Stanton is re-signed

    Dan Jennings and Mike Hill must perform the Herculean task of keeping Giancarlo Stanton’s brawny bat from taking the road most traveled by Marlins’ prospects who develop into stars. They gained the salary space to do so on those two seemingly dark days in 2012 when the Marlins deconstructed the team built to play in the newly constructed Marlins Park.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category