BOSTON - Not so fast, LeBron.
Playing under Boston’s 17 championship banners, the Miami Heat couldn’t win its first game with a heralded lineup as the new Big Three lost to the old Big Three of the Celtics, 88-80, in the season opener Tuesday night.
James scored 31 points, but the other members of the trio struggled. Dwyane Wade was limited to 13 points on 4-for-16 shooting and Chris Bosh added eight points and eight rebounds. They combined for 15 of the Heat’s 17 turnovers — eight by James, six by Wade and one by Bosh.
Ray Allen led Boston with 20 points, Paul Pierce scored 19 and Kevin Garnett had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Those three joined together in 2007 and led the Celtics to the NBA title that season.
Boston led at halftime, 45-30, but Miami cut that to 63-57 after the third quarter behind James’ 15 points in that period.
A layup by James made it 83-80 with 70 seconds remaining in the game. But Boston, which once led by 19, got the last five points on a 3-pointer by Allen and two free throws by Pierce.
Boston led 16-9 after one quarter, the first time since March 15, 2009, at the Philadelphia 76ers that the Heat scored nine points or fewer in a period.
Miami got a brief burst, scoring six points in a row to make it 41-28. The last basket in that surge was a dunk by James on a pass from Eddie House, whose steal started their two-on-none break.
That drew cheers from two Heat fans — one wearing a T-shirt with James’ name on the back and the other with a jersey bearing Wade’s name — but a fan wearing a green Celtics T-shirt, yelled, “He’s supposed to do that. That is not impressive.”
Have a seat, rookie: Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick out of Ohio State, will begin his rookie season for the Sixers by coming off the bench today against Miami.
Question: where is the Answer? Guard Allen Iverson is close to signing with Turkish club Besiktas. Iverson, the No. 1 overall pick in 1996, is an 11-time All-Star and the 2001 NBA MVP.
Fastbreaks: The Bucks exercised the option on general manager John Hammond’s contract and extended coach Scott Skiles’ contract through the 2012-13 season. ... Yahoo reported the Knicks conducted secret workouts of college players that may have circumvented draft rules.