NBA Opening Night Preview: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
Tuesday, 10/26/10, 7:30 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -1
Current Betting Line:  Pick
Opening Total:  193
Current Total:  189.5
Current Moneyline:  Miami -110 / Boston -110

Miami Heat newcomers Chris Bosh and LeBron James begin their quest for the NBA Championship

Miami heads out on the road to open the season with an exciting new-look group that includes perennial All-Stars Chris Bosh and LeBron James.  “Once LeBron took his talents to South Beach, I think everyone got excited,” Celtics head coach Doc Rivers stated.  The Heat practiced one last time in Miami on Monday morning and then jumped on a plane to head north.  Last season, the team dropped all three contests versus Boston and has a 15-27 overall mark in games played in Boston.  This is the first time the Heat and Celtics have squared off on Opening Night and Miami has used the same starting line-up once in openers in franchise history.  The squad is 45-44 ATS on the road the past two seasons.

The Heat’s offseason was built around the arrival of two-time league MVP LeBron James, who made his decision 110 days ago to leave Cleveland on national television.  “I’ll be ready tomorrow,” said James.  “Ill be ready.  I’ll be ready.”  He made have received plenty of motivation when head coach Eric Spoelstra brought in Miami’s 2006 championship trophy into Monday’s practice to simply remind everyone of the season’s lone goal.  Wade is still considered the leader of the team and led the Heat with 33.7 points and 8.7 assists per game against the Celtics last year.  The talented trio will allow the team to score with anyone offensively, but the offseason was spent giving the team a defensive edge that many will be interested to see on Tuesday night.

Boston seems to be an afterthought in the Eastern Conference and that may provide motivation for the Celtics to pull off a season-opening victory.  “As far as the East, we’re the champs,” point guard Rajon Rondo stated.  “But that’s in the past.  New season.  We’re not going to go down without a fight.”  The team signed a few frontcourt pieces during the offseason, adding Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal.  They will be used to spell starters Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins over the course of the season.  Boston won all three meetings last year, averaging 103.7 points per game, while holding the Heat to 97.7 points per contest.  The team is 45-56 ATS at home over the last two campaigns.

The Celtics were just a couple plays away from winning their second championship in three years last June, losing Game 7 to the Lakers 83-79 in the NBA Finals.  Many believe that was the start of the door closing on this veteran-laden team that is getting up an age.  Guard Ray Allen believes this opening contest is a great way for Boston to start its march toward another conference title.  “There’s never been an opening game that has been more heavily anticipated,” he said.  “The two teams are Eastern Conference powerhouses.  It’s going to be a game.”

Bettors will find that the Heat were 0-4 ATS on the road to finish out the 2009-10 season, while the Celtics were 9-3 ATS in their last 12 home games.  The favorite is 12-3 ATS in the last 15 meetings.

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