Now that it’s over, the Celtics could concede that this was no ordinary game.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Paul Pierce said he expects to feel tightness and soreness over the next 24 hours as the Celtics prepare to take on the Cavaliers in their first road game of season on Wednesday night at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. Pierce was called for a foul with 4:32 left in the third quarter on Tuesday when he attempted to draw a charge on LeBron James. He fell backwards and onto his back. He held his back as the Celtics ran a play up the court but came out moments later and then headed to the locker room for treatment of a bruised back and back spasms.

 

The Celtics played defense like they knew what the Miami Heat were going to run. And Ray Allen, who defended Dwyane Wade much of the night and held him to 4-of-16 shooting, explained exactly how they were able to defend Miami in an 88-80 win in the season opener at TD Garden. LeBron James finished with a game-high 31 points but Wade, James and Chris Bosh combined to make only 17-of-48 shots. 

 

Are you ready for one man's diary of THE MOST ANTICIPATED NBA SEASON OPENER OF ALL TIME? Quick, name me another NBA season opener that was anticipated at all.



KIRK MINIHANE

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Now that it's over, the Celtics could concede that this was no ordinary opening night. As Kevin Garnett walked to the podium in the room usually reserved for games deep in the playoffs he turned to Paul Pierce and said, "Are we in the finals already?"

 

"It did have a lot of hype on it," Garnett continued. "A lot of good personnel on both teams, a lot of outstanding personnel. You could tell both teams were a bit rusty. You could tell there was a lot of hype, a lot of anticipation with this game."

 

BOSTON - LeBron James spoke to the media following his first game as a member of the Miami Heat, an 88-80 loss to the Celtics on Tuesday at the TD Garden. James, who led all scorers with 31 points (21 in the second half), was asked about his team's performance against the defending Eastern Conference champions.

 

Ray Allen led the offense with 20 points and drilled a clutch jumper late while Rajon Rondo dished out 17 assists as the Celtics played smothering defense to spoil the highly anticipated debut of LeBron James with the Miami Heat. The Celtics won, 88-80, Tuesday night at TD Garden in the NBA season opener. James scored 21 second-half points and finished with a game-high 31 points while Dwyane Wade had 13 and Chris Bosh added eight points and eight boards for the Heat. 

 

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, during a Monday morning appearance on WAAF's Hill-Man in the Morning Show, said that C's point guard Rajon Rondo has stopped wearing his headband this season after the NBA threatened to fine him for sporting the league's logo upside-down.

 

If Kendrick Perkins had a choice he would have tried to play opening night, but it's not his call and so he is resigned to making the most out of his current situation while he rehabs from knee surgery. Perkins is down 10 pounds to 271 (he'd like to lose 10 more) and has made it a goal to make 300 free throws every day. He doesn't know a firm date yet for his return, but he said his goal is to be back by late January.

 

Rookie Semih Erden was activated by the Celtics before Tuesday night's game with the Heat, while Luke Harangody was relegated to the inactive list along with Avery Bradley and Kendrick Perkins. The Celtics will only have 11 players in uniform while Delonte West sits out with a 10-game suspension.

 

Erden injured his shoulder in practice and was questionable, but his size could be an asset against the Heat.

 

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics