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Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

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Still hot: Boston's Jason Terry (4) defends Miami's Ray Allen during the Heat's season-opening 120-107 win on Tuesday. AP

Miami triumphs in opener

AP

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

News photo
Change of scenery: Los Angeles' Dwight Howard tries to find a way through the Dallas defense on Tuesday. AP

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

Wade scored 29 points, James finished with 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 the Boston 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 Miami 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.

"I thought they were the aggressor the whole game," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "They got on the floor where they wanted to get on the floor. They took us out of stuff that they wanted to."

Rashard Lewis scored 10 points for the Heat, who held on even while James, last season's MVP of both the regular season and NBA Finals, was in the locker room for the second time because of the cramps, first in his right leg and then his left.

"It's not an all-the-time thing," James said. "I'm not too worried about it."

The Heat got their championship rings from owner Micky Arison before the game, then watched the banner get hoisted to the rafters. More emotion came late, when Wade drove past Rondo — and the Celtics guard grabbed Wade around the neck. Wade appeared as though he was ready to throw the ball at Rondo in retaliation, and stopped himself.

"I thought he hooked me," Rondo said.

Wade had a different opinion.

"It was a punk play by him," Wade said. "The league will take care of it. He clotheslined me, with two hands."

Mavericks 99, Lakers 91

In Los Angeles, Darren Collison scored 17 points, Brandan Wright added 14, and Dallas spoiled the Lakers debuts of center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash.

O.J. Mayo had 12 points as the revamped Mavericks pulled off a stunner in their opener, comfortably beating star-studded Los Angeles without any help from injured Dirk Nowitzki.

Kobe Bryant scored 22 points while playing on an injured right foot, but the Lakers opened a season of enormous expectations with a dud of a performance.

Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds while missing 11 of his 14 free throws before fouling out with 2:02 to play. Nash managed just seven points and four assists with seemingly little to do in Los Angeles' new offensive scheme.

Pau Gasol had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the hosts.

Cavaliers 94, Wizards 84

In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, Anderson Varejao had a career-high 23 rebounds and the hosts opened the season with a win over short-handed Washington.

Rookie Dion Waiters added 17 points for the Cavs, who led by 16 in the third quarter but needed big plays from Irving and Varejao in the final minutes to hold off the Wizards.

Varejao had nine points and a career-high nine assists, two setting up dunks by Tristan Thompson in the last two minutes.

Jordan Crawford scored 11 points to lead Washington, which was without star point guard John Wall, power forward Nene and forward Kevin Seraphin.

Wall, the former No. 1 overall pick, is expected to be out until late November with a knee injury.



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