So, how about those Miami Heat? LeBron & co. got their regular season show on the road tonight in Boston, scoring nine points in the first quarter and 30 in the opening half of an 88-80 loss to Rajon Rondo and the mighty Celtics. It’s early, but if you ask me, it’s time to blow this operation up.
Of the new big three, James made the most noise in his Miami debut, though as much for his eight turnovers as his game-high 31 points. LeBron finished 10-of-21 from the field, carrying a Heat offense that shot a combined 36.5% from the floor, a number made possible by 4-of-16 and 3-of-11 nights from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade tossed in six turnovers with his 13 points and six assists, and Bosh scored just eight and had eight rebounds in his first game since ditching the good old Purple Fever.
Enough about those classy kids and on to the defending Eastern Conference champs, though: Boston used a typically strong defensive effort and a balanced offensive attack to do the same thing its done the past three years — win, win and win. Ray Allen led the way with 20 points, including three late off a baseline screen to stop a Miami run that had cut the Celtics’ 19-point lead to three in the final minute. Paul Pierce had 19 and nine boards, Kevin Garnett chipped in 10 and 10 and Rondo matched a regular season-high with 17 assists. Shaquille O’Neal made his Irish debut, scoring nine points and adding seven boards in 18 minutes.
As easy as it as to poke fun at the league’s new “dynasty”, I wouldn’t actually read too much into an opening night loss, especially one in Boston. If they bow out in the first round of the playoffs, we’ll party as hard as we did last time LeBron choked.
Anyway, the NBA season is off an rolling, with the Blazers and Suns also underway and the Lakers, fresh off a ring ceremony, ready to get things going with the Rockets at Staples Center. To quote the great Bentum, “Let’s see what happens!”.