Newly-crowned Heat hold off Celtics
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - LeBron James got his ring and then went out and played like a king.
Although he missed a majority of the fourth quarter with leg cramps, James tallied 26 points and 10 rebounds in the defending-champion Miami Heat's 120-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on ring night.
"It was good to cap this night off with a win," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was an emotional time for all of us in our organization."
The 2012 NBA and Finals MVP, James, exited the game late in the third quarter with cramps, came back at the start of the fourth and made a deep jumper to give Miami its largest lead, and then exited again shortly thereafter.
"Once you start cramping, there's nothing you can do about it," James said.
It's been a big year of accolades for James, who went 10-of-16 from the floor. He led the U.S. to another gold medal at the Summer Olympics in London.
Dwyane Wade netted 29 points, while Chris Bosh added 19 points and 10 boards for Miami, which knocked off the Celtics in seven games during the Eastern Conference finals.
Wade missed the Olympics after knee surgery and Bosh didn't go to London to rehab a strained abdominal muscle that cost him several contests in last season's playoffs.
Without a consistent three-point threat off the bench, the Heat went out and signed sharp-shooting guard Ray Allen and forward Rashard Lewis during free agency.
The signing ended Allen's five-year run in Boston. The NBA's all-time leader in three-point baskets won his lone NBA title with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in 2008.
Allen's decision was met great displeasure by the Celtics.
"I don't have Ray's number any more," Garnett, who signed a three-year extension to stay in Beantown, said at the teams' media day in early October. "I'm not trying to communicate. I'm just being honest with everybody in here ... It's just what it is."
Before Allen entered the game for the first time, he tried to engage with Garnett, who was resting on the Celtics bench. Garnett refused to acknowledge him and didn't even flinch.
"I was just trying to focus as much as I could. I am such an intense person," Garnett said. "Obviously he's on the other side. It's time to play the game, man."
Allen had 19 points, while Lewis recorded 10.
Pierce scored 23 points and Rajon Rondo registered 20 points and 13 assists for Boston, which won last season's season series between its heated rivals, 3-1.
Offseason signee Jason Terry had eight points.
James' deep left elbow jumper gave the Heat a 95-76 advantage early in the fourth, but the Celtics outscored Miami 31-16 over the next nine-plus minutes to cut the margin to four.
A pair of Celtics offseason acquisitions paid dividends during the flurry. Leandro Barbosa scored all 16 of his points during the swing, while Courtney Lee's layup cut the deficit to 111-107. Lee landed in Boston following a sign- and-trade with the Houston Rockets and Barbosa inked a free-agent deal.
Miami's stifling defense, though, clamped down and held Boston without a point over the final 2:09.
Bosh scored seven of the Heat's last nine points of the game.
Earlier, James put in eight points and snatched six rebounds in the opening 12 minutes as Miami took a 31-25 edge into the second.
The Heat held a 62-54 halftime lead and concluded the third stanza on a 12-2 run to take a 93-76 advantage into the fourth.
Wade netted his 15,000th career point in the second quarter ... The Heat won the turnover battle, 16-8, and finished with 19 points off those 16 Boston miscues ... Miami shot 54.4 percent (43-of-79) from the floor, while Boston finished at a 52 percent clip (39-of-75).
10/31 00:59:47 ET