Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The last time the Boston Celtics were playing the Miami Heat at the AmericanAirlines Arena in a game that counted; they watched as the Heat pulled away and celebrated winning the Eastern Conference championship.
Tuesday, the Heat will once again be celebrating, this time the NBA Championship. The team will also be welcoming in the Celtics to tip-off the 2012-2013 regular season in what should become an even more intense rivalry between the two teams.
But first, LeBron James will get his first championship ring, along with Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat team. The Heat will also raise another championship banner to the rafters in a pregame celebration. Then, all eye turn towards the Celtics.
Boston comes in looking to repeat history from the last time the Heat won a championship. In the first regular season game after the Heat won their last championship, they were annihilated by the Chicago Bulls.
One of the biggest storylines of the game will be the Celtics facing Ray Allen for the first time since he joined the Heat over the summer as a free agent. Allen and the Celtics have each pointed the finger at the other for the ugly divorce between the two, but Boston is trying to view the game as just another game.
“If we win, do we get a trophy? We get one win and that’s it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “And if we lose, which we don’t want to do, we get one loss and it doesn’t mean we still can’t win it. But at the end of the day, we’re all human. These games, they don’t really have more meaning, but they do have more meaning.”
The Heat team that takes the court against the Celtics will look a little different than the team Boston last saw on the floor in May. LeBron James will be manning the power forward position with Chris Bosh taking over at center, on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively, Shane Battier will likely guard the power forward and Bosh will stay at center.
In addition, Boston will have to deal with Bosh and Dwyane Wade both at full strength. The Celtics will also have to deal with Allen hanging out around the 3-point line as the defense tries to decide how to rotate and double-team Wade, James, and Bosh.
Miami also will add Rashard Lewis as a stretch-four to the lineup. If healthy, he can shoot the three and should be able to defend either power forward or small forward.
But Boston is no slouch either. They spent the offseason adding key draft picks and free agents of their own. The Celtics signed Jason Terry to replace Allen and Jeff Green is returning after heart surgery. Plus, Boston gets Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett back for another season.
Boston and Miami play at the AmericanAirlines Arena with a tip-off at 8 p.m. The game can also be seen on TNT.