June 9, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) tries to pass the ball from his back as he is defended by Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) and Brandon Bass (30) during the third quarter in game seven of the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Well Celtics fans, the NBA season is finally upon us. Tonight is the night we get to witness great match-ups between superstars, an old friend officially joining the dark side, and LeBron James getting his first ring. With the rivalry heating up after every meeting between these two Eastern Conference heavyweights, what better way to kick off the season than to have the Celtics and Heat duke it out?
It’s already been said that Boston will not be on the court when the Heat receive their championship rings and lift their banner up in the rafters during the pre game ceremonies. Doc Rivers commented saying, “The Heat don’t own the trophy.” With all the other chatter (mainly from Ray Allen), this game is sizing up to be more like a playoff game. Ray Allen has been the main focus throughout the last two weeks by Celtics Nation, but Allen being on the Heat shouldn’t take away from what this game is about; Opening Night, and the rivalry these two teams share.
Tonight, the Celtics have an opportunity to get some temporary revenge after the loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but besides that, a win holds significant importance. If Boston comes out of Miami with a victory, it will set the tone for the team early on in the season. To beat the team that they have to go through to get back to the Finals would be a confidence booster, and it will leave a trace of fear inside the Heat’s players, especially to win the game on their court. Also, this game has a personal meaning as well. The loss to the Heat could have potentially ended Kevin Garnett’s career in the NBA, and Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce may have followed suit. With Ray Allen going to Miami, there will most likely be a sense of betrayal as some of the players watch him warmup before the game, but because they’re professionals they won’t show their emotions.
During tonight’s game however, we’re going to have the privilege to watch match-ups like Pierce vs LeBron, Garnett vs Bosh, and Jason Terry vs Ray Allen. It’s going to be exciting to see what Doc Rivers does during the game, just by what lineups he’ll go with in certain situations, and utilizing all the weapons he has off the bench. The NBA really couldn’t have come up with a better matchup for an opening night game and to get fans excited for the start of the season. For the first time since the Heat’s Big Three was assembled, Boston may have a team who can match them basket for basket, and man for man. In all the years I’ve watched the NBA, tonight has to be the most exciting and anticipated game for any opening night.
Another story for tonight’s game is Jeff Green plays his first regular season game since 2011. It’s nothing short of amazing that he can play even after having heart surgery, and he said that it will be a bit emotional for him when he steps out onto the floor. He’s going to be a very valuable piece on the Celtics, and because of his length and athleticism he may be able to keep in front of LeBron James. I know for myself, having Green backup Pierce gives me more confidence than having Mickael Pietrus as the second option.
As the game nears, there is no doubt the excitement will grow, and it already has on twitter. So here’s to a successful season, and hopefully resulting in Banner 18. Let’s go Celtics and beat the Heat!