Notebook: Heat 120, Celtics 107



Posted Oct 31, 2012 12:31 AM

By Shandel Richardson, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Miami Heat started the defense of their NBA title with a 120-107 victory against the Boston Celtics Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

On the night the Heat received their championship rings, guard Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 29 points while LeBron James added 26 points and 10 rebounds. James spent the final eight minutes in the locker room because of cramps. The Heat led by as many as 19, but the lead was trimmed to four with James on the bench. Forward Chris Bosh scored the Heat's final seven points to close things out.

The Celtics were led by Paul Pierce's 23 points.

QUOTABLE: "It was good to cap this night off with a win. And it was an emotional time for all of us in our organization pregame."
-- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on playing the same night as receiving the championship rings.

THE STAT: Guard Mario Chalmers had 11 assists, production the Heat isn't used to receiving from the point guard spot. It meant Wade and James were among those put in position for easy baskets.

TURNING POINT: The Heat held a comfortable lead for most of the way, but pushed it to double digits with a 12-3 run at the end of the third quarter. The most impressive part was the stretch occurred with James in the locker room being treated for cramps.

HOT: Emotions aside, Ray Allen (19 points) seemed dialed in for this one from the beginning. After hitting his first 3-pointer in the first quarter, he came up with several big shots. A consistent perimeter threat is exactly what the Heat wanted from Allen.

NOT: Kevin Garnett was virtually non-existent for the Celtics. Not only was ineffective on offense, he also failed to provide any inside defensive presence. There hasn't been many games where Garnett was third-best option in the frontcourt.

GOOD MOVE: James made an effort to control the boards early. He had nine rebounds by halftime to help make up for the Heat's lack of size. This is what allows the Heat to play Bosh at center and Shane Battier at power forward.

BAD MOVE: James left the game for a second time with eight minutes remaining. It was then when the Celtics made their late move, including a 14-3 run that cut the lead to four points. The Heat looked somewhat vulnerable without James.

NOTABLE: The Heat played without reserve centers Joel Anthony (hamstring) and Dexter Pittman (leg) ... James had no turnovers. Last year, he had just two games as such ... Olympic medalist Usain Bolt and Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush were among those in attendance.

UP NEXT: For the Heat, Friday @ New York, Saturday vs. Denver, Monday vs. Phoenix. For the Celtics, Friday vs. Milwaukee, Saturday @ Washington, Nov. 7 vs. Washington.