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October 31, 2012

Heat top Celtics 120-107 on opening night



MIAMI -- LeBron James got cramps, Ray Allen was snubbed and Dwyane Wade was steaming.

None of that spoiled the Miami Heat mood on ring night.

Wade scored 29 points, James finished 26 points and 10 rebounds while missing much of the second half because of cramps in both legs, and the reigning NBA champion Heat beat theBoston Celtics 120-107 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.

There were actual fireworks before the game to close the ceremony where the Heat got their championship rings and raised their title banner. There also were plenty of figurative fireworks late, first with Boston almost digging out of a 19-point hole and, after the outcome was decided,Rajon Rondo flagrantly fouling Wade by wrapping his arms around his neck on a drive.

In the end, though, the first Celtics-Heat matchup of this season was like the final one of last season - with Miami winning.

"It was good to cap this night off with a win," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was an emotional time for all of us in our organization."

Even for the newcomers, like Allen. He scored 19 points -- needing only seven field goal attempts -- in his first game with Miami since leaving Boston over the summer. Chris Bosh had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Miami.

Allen got chants from the Heat crowd, which is nothing new. Except this time, they were positive.

"Never thought I'd hear that here," Allen said.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points, Rondo finished with 20 points and 13 assists, and Leandro Barbosa scored 16 for Boston. The Celtics, who lost to the Heat in last season's Eastern Conference finals, were not on the court for the ring ceremony.

They almost wrecked the festive mood with a late comeback.

An 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter got Boston within 111-107 on Courtney Lee's layup with 2:09 left. That was the last Celtics' hurrah - Bosh scored the game's next seven points, sealing it for Miami.

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