EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 31, 2012

Heat still have Boston's number

On Pro Basketball Michael Muldoon
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — It remains to be seen if Boston can dethrone the Miami Heat.

The Green donned the black hats last night against the defending NBA champions.

The Celtics snubbed former teammate Ray Allen and were physical bordering on dirty but it didn’t matter. Just like in Games 6 and 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals, LeBron James and the Heat were too much for the Green.

The Heat rolled, 120-107, in South Beach in the much-hyped season opener.

Kevin Garnett said in the preseason he had lost Ray Allen’s number. Perhaps he was looking for it on the floor last night on the American Airlines Arena floor when he wouldn’t make eye contact with Allen, who wanted to shake his hand just prior to tip-off.

Allen tapped him on the shoulder but Garnett didn’t budge.

Allen got the last laugh. Mr. Efficiency scored 19 points on a mere seven field goal attempts. KG was held to nine points and turned the ball over five times.

Trailing early in the fourth quarter by 19 points, Boston appeared to be out of it, but made a late run fueled by, of all people, Leandro Barbosa (16 points). A Courtney Lee lay-up made it a 4-point game with 2:09 left but just like last spring Chris Bosh came up big in the clutch with a personal 7-0 run.

With the game out of reach, Rajon Rondo fouled Dwyane Wade high and hard.

His nearly clotheslining of DWade earned him a flagrant foul.

Still classy

The Celtics found Allen to be a bit too whiny in the offseason. But he took the high road and sought out formers coaches and teammates for hugs. He and Coach Doc Rivers hugged even though Rivers has taken some shots at his former sharpshooter.

Mark your calendar

As the defending champs, Miami earned the home game. But New Englanders and NBA fans nationwide can’t wait for Allen and Miami’s return to Boston. But that’s not until Jan. 27.

Ring in the new

Steve Kerr recently ripped Miami for its over the top ring ceremony after Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal led the Heat to the 2006 title.

Last night was a bit more subdued but it did seem everybody this side of the “good job, good effort” kid got a ring.

Rival clubs may have to rip the Larry O’Brien trophy out of LeBron James’ cold dead hands. Between cramping episodes, he put up an effortless 26 points (10 of 16 shooting) and 10 rebounds.

This isn’t preseason

Boston’s two surprise performers in the preseason were Jeff Green, who is making a comeback from heart surgery, and rookie Jared Sullinger.

Last night was a different story as both were non-factors. Green, who signed a big $40-million deal in the offseason, didn’t exactly evoke memories of John Havlicek, Kevin McHale or even James Posey in his sixth man role.

He was 0-for-4 in 23 forgettable minutes in his first real game since May 11, 2011. Sully only played eight minutes in his NBA debut. He had two points and one rebound.