Ray Allen on the "We love Ray" chants in @aaarena: I never thought I'd hear that here, it was unbelievable. It made me feel special.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 31, 2012
Celtics fans used to love Ray and didn't much like about they saw from him or the Heat Tuesday night. The Celtics were the same team that left American Airlines Arena last June, outplayed and outclassed. Only this time, it was opening night and not curtains. So there's no need to panic.
"Good job, good effort?" Perhaps.
We learned a lot Tuesday - including the fact that the Heat's championship ring has 291 diamonds and was indeed "priceless."
And while diamonds are forever, the affection of Heat fans for Ray Allen is completely portable and runs about as deep as those romantic commitments that occur each night after last call on South Beach. Allen was just another jewel in the Heat's crown Tuesday with his 19 points in 31 minutes. He was missed by the Celtics, along with the time machine that could take the team back to 2008. The Celtics demonstrated indeed that this team is a work in regress. Just like last June when they had Allen, the Celtics had nowhere to go on defense when it was needed to stop Miami's momentum. The Heat put this game away with a 12-2 run late in the third quarter when LeBron cramped up and headed for the locker room. The Celtics made it respectable down the stretch during LeBron's second absence, with a 14-3 run, but eventually faltered in the final two minutes, as Miami scored the final nine points of the game. Doc Rivers called Boston's 107 points "fools' gold." And don't be fooled, James only played 29 minutes, but scored 26 points and the Heat were +12 when he was on the floor. Chris Bosh just demolished everything in sight, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Memo to Doc: Try getting Leandro Barbosa the ball a little earlier next time.
Jeff Green? Let's not get started. (Remember, it's only one game.)
Before he came in the game, Allen did get a hug from Rivers - and a stone-cold shoulder from Kevin Garnett. Then - right on cue after TNT showed that touching moment on tape - Allen dropped a 3-pointer from the corner in Jason Terry's face on his first attempt as a member of the Heat. "You think we would know better," Rivers said after the game. That was in direct contrast to five of the final six 3-point attempts he launched and missed as a member of the Celtics.
Allen was gracious in victory. "That's just KG. He probably didn't see me coming becuase his head is down on the bench all the time" he told TNT's pink-suited Craig Sager. Doubt it. "I love those guys...I can't say enough good things about them and about the city of Boston because I'm a New Englander in my heart and that's always going to be my home," Allen added.
Do we stop hating this guy now? Does Allen slide from Johnny Damon territory into Adam Vinatieri-ville?
But much for the Vendetta Blood Feud.
This was the biggest disappointment since Bobby Valentine promised he'd win 70 games for the Red Sox.
Or "Hangover II."
No punches were thrown.
Doc didn't even swat Allen with his whiteboard.
Just last week, Rivers told 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger and Mazz: "Why it ended the way it ended, I really don't know. I think it was ego than anything else." Allen's reponse (via ESPNBoston.com): "Doc never called and said, 'We want you to come back,' I can't say I expected him to do that. It's hard to say what the protocol is in those situations." So who were they kidding Tuesday? Do these of these hugs ever turn out well?
You have to wonder what adversaries are thinking when they engage in these phony displays of impersonal affection.
The same insincere hug Mitt Romney and Barack Obama shared three times this month before and after each debate.
The same faux hug Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan enjoy twice a year.
The same kiss-of-death hug that Phillip Tattaglia and Don Corleone forced on each other when they agreed to a cease-fire.
That hug was preceded by this imfamous statment:
"But I must have strict assurance from Corleone. As time goes by and his position grows stronger, will he attempt any individual vendetta?" - Phillip Tattaglia
We know how that turned out:
While we expected the Celtics to send out a hit man - Rajon Rondo - perhaps, on Allen, no such hit materialized. It would have been nice for the Celtics to hit a few shots the final five minutes when this game was still within reach. Rondo had 20 points, 13 assists, a technical foul and managed a flagrant foul on Dwyane Wade with 16.9 seconds to play. Another full night's work for Boston's mercurial point guard.
There were some highlights on opening night. We got to see Shaq on TNT tell the world how there are no hard feelings when you leave a team to go to another. (It remained against the law to speak his name in Orlando until 2010.) Then, as the TNT cameras showed a very stylish and silky smooth Kobe Bryant arriving at the Staples Center - Charles Barkley chimed in with "America, this is how you should go to work. Will you give him at least that, Shaq?" before adding: "Shaq, you didn't even shake his hand when you all played together." There you go, the NBA on TNT line of the year on opening night. Damn, I missed those guys.
We also got Paul Pierce miced-up while riding Rondo: "They're too loaded. You need to play ball now and stop thinking so much." So much for thinking Rondo runs things on the floor for Boston.
Thankfully, most of us didn't get caught up too much in the Allen hysteria. Eventually, the bad feelings will subside, as soon as his contract expires with the Heat or he calls it quits. While we can bemoan the loss of Allen and lament his insincerity and defection, it is indeed time for the Celtics and the rest of us to move on. Tuesday's loss was the perfect cure-all for Allen-envy, since the Celtics were once again left trying to figure out how to defend inside and shoot outside.
"Rome wasn't built in a day," as Rondo reminded us this week. That would make the Heat either the Visigoths or the Byzantine Empire - least for the next 1,000 days.
Sounds like we could all use a good hug about now.
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