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Leandro Barbosa scored 16 fourth quarter points in his debut in green as the Celtics rallied from 19 down only to come up short in a 120-107 opening day loss to the Miami Heat. Paul Pierce scored a team high 23 points, while Rajon Rondo got out to a hot start to the season with 20 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Lebron James finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for a Heat team that was obviously amped up after receiving their championship rings minutes before tip off. Dwayne Wade aided the Heat’s effort with 29 points of his own.
Ray Allen made his Heat debut late in the first quarter and hit his signature corner three as the shot clock expired to record his first points for his new team. Allen finished with 19 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
With only four players from last year’s playoff squad active for Tuesday’s contest, the Celtics’ team defense was clearing lacking. The Celtics allowed the Heat to shoot 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from three while recording just four steals and two blocked shots.
Despite playing lackluster defense, the Celtics began the season strong on the boards and won the game of the glass 41-36. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass led the rebounding effort for the Celtics’ combining to grab 23 boards.
James left the game early in the fourth quarter with leg cramps and did not return. The Celtics’ revamped bench combined to score 29 points led by Barbosa’s effort.
The Celtics play their home opener Friday night against Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks.