Ray Allen led the Celtics with 20 points and Rajon Rondo dished 17 assists. James led all scorers with 31 points. Wade added 13 points and Bosh chipped in just 8.
FIRST QUARTER: Celtics 16, Heat 9
Neither team seemed to be in sync, but the Celtics looked marginally better. No one imagined, however, that the teams would combine for 25 points. Defense is an emphasis for both teams, but neither team could hit a shot. Doc Rivers mentioned the chemistry may be an issue for both teams. And it was.
The Celtics looked as if they've been playing together for some time, while the Heat looked as if they picked up each other in a rec league game and said, "OK, we've got the Celtics tonight."
Peterson: In First Game, LeBron and Co. Generate Little Heat
SECOND QUARTER: Celtics 45, Heat 30
Wade got out into the open floor after a quick Celtics three, which was good because there's been nothing easy in the paint tonight for the Heat. The C's length has been bothering Miami all night long. It's an issue that Heat critics had been pointing out in advance of the season. And for a night, they were right.
Also, the Heat had trouble with turnovers in the quarter. After LeBron altered a Nate Robinson layup, the Heat went on a break, threw it away and KG turned it into points for Robinson who had yet to make it across halfcourt. They looked out of sync.
One of the highlights for Boston fans was Shaq hitting two free throws.
THIRD QUARTER: Celtics 63, Heat 57
The quarter started with two turnovers, but play smoothed out for both teams as the quarter went on. Still, Miami's offense looked more stagnant than any Cavaliers offense under Mike Brown. Then, everyone knew where the ball was going. Now, LeBron looked tentative at times because he tried to get everyone going in the halfcourt offense. Things worked better for the Heat when LeBron took over. Once that happens, the rest of the Heat will be sucked along in his backdraft.
Another thing is clear. We know he's getting older, but the Heat should have used Zydrunas Ilgauskas more. His experience and bulk served the Heat well throughout the quarter.
FOURTH QUARTER/TURNING POINT: Celtics 88, Heat 80
Paul Pierce's return to the lineup in the fourth quarter from a back bruise. Pierce went wild upon his return. He hit two threes and three freebies when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He gave the Celtics an 81-70 lead and the C's never looked back. They're lucky they didn't. The Heat closed fast with a 10-0 run to make a game of it with 1:10 left. But Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with 49.8 seconds in the fourth to salt the game away.
HERO OF THE DAY
Shaquille O'Neal, to steal the title of the show from his one-time teammate/nemesis, was doin' work. The Big Shamrock wasn't rock solid like he was in the old days, but his early alley-oop flush, courtesy of a nice dish from Rajon Rondo, and his slam on a fast break, ignited the crowd and gave the Celtics a boost. He only finished with nine points and seven boards, but that's all the C's may need going forward.
YOU HAD TO BE THERE, PART 1
With the exception of FanHouse's own Chris Tomasson and Sam Amick, nearly every major NBA writer was at the Garden: Jackie MacMullen, Mark Heisler, Pete Vecsey, Adrian Wojnarowski, Bob Ryan, Ian Thomsen, just to name a few. It was like the NBA's State of the Union address and CT and Amick were like the cabinet members who were held in a secure location just in case someone decided to attack the Garden. Luckily no one did, least of all the Heat for most of the first half.
YOU HAD TO BE THERE , PART 2
At the third quarter timeout, the Celtics video board featured a fan who removed his shirt to show a Celtics logo tattoo that went the length of his back.
OK, maybe you didn't need to be there for that.