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October 31, 2012

Rings, a banner, a win: Heat top Celtics 120-107

Eds: Heat 120, Celtics 107. With AP Photos.

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James limped off with leg cramps two times in the second half.


He wasn't worried about the outcome. By now, he knows the depth of the Miami Heat roster. And on ring night, there was no way the reigning NBA champions were going to have their party spoiled.


Dwyane Wade scored 29 points, James finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds despite spending parts of the third and fourth quarters hydrating in the locker room, and the Heat beat the Boston Celtics 120-107 Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.


"A night that we won't forget," James said.


That's true, for a lot of reasons.


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.


Chris Bosh was dominant late, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Allen scored 19 points — needing only seven field goal attempts — in his first game with the Heat since leaving Boston over the summer.


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.


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