LeBron James, Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Season Opener: What Did We Learn?

Josh DelpContributor IOctober 27, 2010

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26:  Fans reacts after Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics scored a basket against the Miami Heat at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 26, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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The NBA’s season-opening night has come and gone.

The Celtics, Blazers, and Lakers all picked up wins. Yesterday I predicted the winners of these three games, and was right on each account.

I even suggested the Lakers would win by one to three points in a close one, which they did (112-110 was the final). This makes me wonder how good I would do if I took up sports betting.

That’s a slippery slope, so I’ll pass.

But I digress. Let’s get to the matter at hand.

So, what did we learn about the most highly-anticipated debut in NBA history? Well, quite honestly, nothing new.

The Celtics started their defense of the Eastern Conference crown with a 88-80 win over the super-duper teammates and the Heat. Boston came out running from the start.

Their defense was suffocating most of the night, except when LeBron James declared the third quarter his own.

The nine points by the Heat in the first quarter was painful to watch. I’m amazed they scored that little with players like James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the court.

I know Boston’s defense is stellar, but come on, man. Last night’s game serves as a testament to the Celtic defense, which is the best in the league.

Last night’s game also serves as a realization that this team still needs to play with each other to maximize their effectiveness. Wade missed all but three minutes of the preseason, and it clearly showed.

He wasn’t on the same page as the rest of the team, as evidenced by the six turnovers.

How about James’ eight turnovers? With all of the good things he did, his eight turnovers and Wade’s six are clear signs that these guys don’t have it figured out yet.

He did almost will the Heat in a comeback bid in the third quarter after being down by as many as 19. But we all knew he could do that, didn’t we?

Bosh looked uncomfortable and indecisive throughout the game, scoring only eight points on 3-of-11 shooting. The one play that was impressive was the face-up, blow-by move on Kevin Garnett which he finished at the rim.

If one thing is for sure, the Miami Heat are a shooting team. Wade and James serve as the slashers, the rest of the guys spot up for jumpers.

That’s about it.

Bosh can create his own shot as well. He is the closest thing to a post presence they have.

Last night’s Heat looked a lot like the Cavaliers and Heat of last year, where everybody stood around waiting for something to happen.

We know whoever plays the Heat will have difficulties matching up with the Big Three, but what about the matchup problems for the Heat on defense? Rajon Rondo had his way last night, as he dished out 17 assists.

What do the Heat do on defense to matchup with the Rondo’s, Chris Paul’s and Deron Williams’ of the league? Eddie House and Carlos Arroyo were often seen chasing Ray Allen around, leaving Wade to guard Rondo.

That’s a tough defensive assignment, if you ask me.

At the end of the day, the results were what I expected. Shaq got dunks and layups at the rim (two of which he missed) due to the lack of size and mobility down low, the Celtics defense lived up to their billing, and the Heat were rusty and discombobulated.

I did, however, expect the Heat to score more than 80.

It’s clear the Heat need more work and exposure with each other. It’s also clear this team will not beat the Bulls’ 72 win record.

Now is definitely not the time to overreact with preposterous claims that this team is a failure.

It’s Game 1. There’s 81 more to go.

Your hat has to go off to the Celtics, though. They proved why they are the reigning champions of the East and why they will remain so until they are beaten.

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