Fans Cheer New Additions To Miami Heat At First Team Scrimmage
MIAMI (AP) — Ray Allen drew cheers for the first time in Miami. Someone wearing his old Boston jersey got booed.
Still getting used to things in Miami, Allen went to the wrong end of the court when lining up for the national anthem. But once play began in Miami’s open scrimmage Wednesday night, he was right at home, making the first 3-pointer he tried in Heat colors — albeit the practice-jersey variety — and scoring 13 points in his unofficial debut.
Most of the crowd of 11,221 cheered all night, except when two women were spotted in Celtics jerseys, one of them Allen’s former No. 20.
“You’re supporting the player, so I’m kind of mixed,” said Allen, the former Celtics guard who will wear No. 34 in Miami. “I don’t know how to feel about it. I think she thought she was with everybody because she was wearing my jersey, but everybody was like, ‘No, you’ve got to come in here correct.’ It was pretty funny.”
Chris Bosh scored a game-high 19 points, LeBron James had 15 and the teams combined to shoot 14-of-42 from 3-point range. The Red team beat the White team 69-56, which couldn’t have been more irrelevant because many players switched jerseys during the scrimmage.
“We are excited to get this thing started again,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the crowd.
It starts for real on Oct. 30, when the Heat will raise a second championship banner and get their rings, then open the season against Boston. The Celtics are still very much a rival — just ask the two women in Boston jerseys, one Allen’s and one Rajon Rondo’s, who were booed as they climbed stairs out of the arena.
Allen, however, is now welcomed.
“For a scrimmage to have that type of turnout on a Wednesday night, it just shows the type of support we have here, man,” James said. “We give it all to our fans when we go out there. It was definitely surprising to see as many as we had tonight and the support of us, our first showing.”
Bringing back memories of how the Heat hit 14 3-pointers in last season’s NBA-title-clinching win over Oklahoma City, Miami was busy from the beginning from beyond the arc. The first points of the scrimmage came on a 3-pointer by Shane Battier; the next three were from Allen, who took a pass from fellow Miami newcomer Rashard Lewis and connected from the left corner, immediately in front of the Heat bench.
“Fitting,” James said.
Heat owner Micky Arison couldn’t contain his smile, nor could Allen. Of the 17 players who got minutes, 11 tried at least one 3-pointer.
“I like that the ball is moving,” Spoelstra said.
Most of the Heat rotation players took part. The exceptions: Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony all sat out to rest ailments for the Heat, who open the preseason Sunday in Atlanta and then fly to China that night for two games next week against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I’m getting better every day. …. I decided not to go today, but I’m OK,” Wade said.
While much of the night was about the fans — tickets were free, and players made their way down to the court through the stands, slapping high-fives along the way — there still was business for the Heat to address. Team president Pat Riley sat at Arison’s table, occasionally scribbling notes, while Spoelstra and assistant Ron Rothstein sat on the other side to study the proceedings. Assistants Keith Askins and David Fizdale did the coaching from the benches.
All the attention wasn’t always on what was happening on the floor, however.
The women in Boston attire created stirs in the stands at least twice — “Will all Celtics fans please exit the building?” Wade asked at one point, grabbing a courtside microphone as he and James spotted the commotion — and another man was booed for waving a Kobe Bryant jersey at the crowd.
“I’m curious how much more we get of that throughout the year,” Allen said.
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