Well, luckily its only one game and there’s 81 more to go, that look on Doc Rivers face about sums up tonight’s season openers loss. The Celtics fell to the Heat in the season opener 120-107 with most of the damage coming from ex Celtics player Ray Allen. Allen struck first blood in game 1 of 4 against his former team; off the bench Allen had 19 points in 30 mins of play. Ray Allen who entered to a standing ovation from the Miami fans received hugs and hi fives from former teammates except for one person…KG. As Ray made his way over to KG, Ray was served with a big plate of cold shoulder and a glare from Garnett. He then went and hit his first 3 for the Heat and was praised with chants of “We Love Ray” from the Heat fans.
It was an emotional game for both sides as the Celtics were facing a man they once called brother who went and signed with the team that knocked them from the playoffs the last two season. Ray spent the weeks leading up to the season taking shots at his former team saying he was pushed out. For the Heat they got to raise their championship banner and receive their rings the Celtics however didn’t feel like celebrating as they stayed in the locker room. Boston came in with new players in Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger, Leandro Barbosa and Jeff Green who was coming off heart surgery. And while they looked good at times, they also looked bad at times. Now like I said before it was just one game and it will take some time to get chemistry and everyone on the same page. When players get comfortable in their roles and adjust to mixing with the first team and second team offense, Boston will be a dangerous team this year. Jason Terry and Jeff Green had forgettable performances but that to will change as the season progress, for Terry when he adjusts to his new teammates he will be the sixth man that the Celtics have wanted for a long time. For Green he looked more like the scared Jeff Green from two years ago then the player who had a great preseason who showed a lot of promise.
The Celtics were mainly decimated on the defensive side as bad transition defense and lack of help defense lead to the Heat leading by as many as 19 points. Also the one thing that has plagued Boston over the years reared its ugly head again and that was turnovers Boston had 10 at the end of the first half and 15 overall which is one thing you don’t want to do against the Heat. When Boston was able to lock down their defense in the 4th they were able to cut the lead down to 6 but it was too little to late by then. Leandro Barbosa was a monster in the 4th quarter which led to Boston mini attempt at a comeback, Barbosa scored all of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. That’s one thing you can be happy with cause last year the Celtics bench averaged less than 16 points a game. Courtney Lee looked good in his debut aside from picking up 5 fouls, but he looks like a good replacement for Ray Allen also keep in mind Bradley is still hurt as well but once he is back Boston will be the team it wants to be and then some.
Rajon Rondo picked up where he left off getting another double double with 20 points and 13 assists (he had 8 in the first half), Paul Pierce led the way with 23 points. Pierce who last year suffered a MCL sprain looked really good as he was driving to the basket and getting to the line like the Pierce of old instead of settling for jump shots. Lebron and Dwayne Wade led the way for the Heat, Lebron who left in the fourth and didn’t return cause of leg cramps had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Wade added 29 points of his own. Over all Miami’s big 3 outplayed Boston’s big 3. The trio of James/Wade/Bosh had 74 points and 23 rebounds while the trio of Rondo/Pierce/Garnett had 52 points and 24 rebounds, add in Ray Allen’s 19 and Rashard Lewis 10 points and you see why Boston had a very un-Boston like performance. Very rarely do the Celtics give up over 100 points in a game, actually a typical Celtics vs. Heat game score would be in the low 80′s. The Celtics will have the next two days off to stew over this loss and then it’s their home opener on Friday against the Bucks. Expect a much improved and motivated Boston team to show up and be ready to put this loss behind them.