Jeff Green, who had season-ending surgery for an aortic aneurysm last January, played in a game that counts for the first time since May 11, 2011 — also in Miami, when the Heat ousted the Celtics from that season’s playoffs. Green finished with three points in 23 minutes.
As Allen entered the game for the first time, he trotted toward the Boston bench, exchanging a handshake, embrace and a few words with Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who hasn’t hidden his displeasure about his former shooting guard’s decision to sign with Miami. Allen then briskly shook hands with a few assistant coaches.
But when Allen tried to engage Kevin Garnett, the mutual pleasantries ended. Allen tapped Garnett on the shoulder as he sat on the Boston bench; Garnett didn’t even flinch, staring straight ahead, refusing to acknowledge the gesture in any way.
Allen didn’t seem flustered. His first shot in a Miami uniform was — what else? — a corner 3-pointer, which swished.
Miami controlled much of the first half, taking a 62-54 lead after James went by Pierce and Garnett for a two-handed dunk and yell for the crowd.
The first Heat angst of the season came in the third quarter, when James walked slowly to the bench after a timeout with 4:40 remaining, favoring his right leg and then headed out the tunnel toward the locker room.
When he left, the Miami lead was 79-70.
When he returned to open the fourth quarter, the lead was 93-76. The Heat scored the final eight points of the third, with Bosh, Allen, Mario Chalmers and Lewis all scoring in the final 2:17 to give the Heat their biggest lead of the game.
James — who was dealing with a cramping issue, like he experienced at times in last season’s NBA Finals — opened the fourth quarter with a jumper to extend the run to 10-0, and Miami seemed well on its way. But he returned to the locker room a short time later, the cramps having flared up again.