Ray Allen hit 5-of-8 from three-point range to lead his Boston Celtics past the new-look Miami Heat 88-80 in yesterday’s opening contest at the TD Garden. The final baseline jumper from beyond the arc gave Allen 20 points on the night while putting the C’s up six with just under 50 seconds left in regulation. Paul Pierce netted 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and provided the pass for his trusted two guard to deliver the final dagger.
“We talk about it every day,” said Pierce. “That’s what we work on every day, making that extra pass, not trying to play hero ball. I saw him collapse on me, and you’ve got one of the greatest shooters in NBA history wide open in the corner. It’s a no-brainer. I wanted to get it to him. I have total confidence.”
The revamped Heat roster had one of their worst first quarter starts in franchise history, scoring 9 points to Boston’s 16. The Celtics led by as much as 18 until LeBron James controlled the third quarter to make it competitive. James finished with 31 points but also provided eight of Miami’s 17 turnovers. Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade together shot 7-for-27 for 21 points. “This is one of 82,” said Wade. “Sorry if everyone thought we were going to go 82-0. It just ain’t happening.”
Rajon Rondo dished out 17 assists for the Celtics to fall one pass short of his career high. Shaquille O’Neal fit right in at center, collecting nine points, seven rebounds and two monster jams. “We just wanted to come out and win our first game,” he said. “We let you all worry about the hoopla and all of that.” The Celtics are next set to hit the road to matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight before hosting the New York Knicks on Friday. 2010-2011 regular season Boston Celtics tickets are now available!