The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 31, 2012

Wade, James lead defending champions over Celtics

MIAMI — LeBron James got his ring, then got cramps.

The Miami Heat found a way to beat their biggest rival anyway.

Dwyane Wade scored 29 points, James finished 26 points and 10 rebounds while missing much of the second half, and the reigning NBA champion Heat beat the Boston Celtics 120-107 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Ray Allen, in his first game with Miami since leaving Boston over the summer, added 19 points for the Heat, as did Chris Bosh, who had a late flurry that helped Miami prevail.

Rashard Lewis scored 10 for Miami, which saw a 19-point lead trimmed to four in the final minutes before finding a way to close it out — 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.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points, Rajon 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.

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.

The Heat got their championship rings from owner Micky Arison and watched the banner commemorating last season’s title get hoisted in a pregame ceremony replete with an indoor fireworks show.

More fireworks came at the finish — Rondo was called for a flagrant foul against Wade with 16.9 seconds left, as if either team needed a reminder that these sides simply don’t like each other very much. Three straight postseason meetings made them rivals, and Allen’s departure only added more fuel to the mix.

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