Ray of light
Allen shines as Celtics beat Heat
MIAMI — Paul Pierce was pumping premium gas into Ray Allen.
Coming out of the tunnel at halftime, Pierce walked shoulder to shoulder with Allen, barking into his ear.
“He was averaging 25 points!’’ Pierce yelled.
“He’’ was Dwyane Wade. The reason Pierce was reciting Wade’s scoring average was because Allen had held the Heat’s franchise player to no first-half points on 0-for-6 shooting.
“It’s just one of those things that you always see guys talking to themselves and you think that they’re crazy,’’ Allen said. “But there’s that inner demon that we all have inside of us to make sure that we stay focused. Just paying attention to small things.’’
Allen didn’t know that Wade was 0 for 6 at the time.
“It was great that Paul said that, because it does make me think more,’’ Allen said. “Defensively, it’s like, ‘Let’s not let him get into a rhythm.’ ’’
Thanks to Allen, Wade was in shackles all night. LeBron James (35 points) tried to beat the Celtics by himself, but for the second time in 16 days, Boston handled the Heat, 112-107, and never trailed in a virtual carbon copy of its season-opening win.
Allen couldn’t have done much more. He made his first seven 3-pointers, scored 35 points, and held Wade to 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting.
“It’s not easy,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “Running around offensively and chasing Wade.’’
“We just kind of fed off it all night,’’ Pierce said. “We were getting him open and he just carried us.’’
Wade’s most agonizing miss was a clean look at a 24-foot 3-pointer that would have made it 106-102 with 3:33 left. Instead, it swirled around, almost taunting Wade before rimming out.
“Wade missed some good shots,’’ Rivers said. “We can’t bank on Wade missing that many good shots. He just had one of those nights and then Ray had one of those nights.
“Ray was unbelievable on both ends.’’
The Heat have lost four games, with the Celtics responsible for half of them.
“It’s Nov. 11,’’ said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “We’re not there. We didn’t play well tonight.
“We have a different timeline and this is going to be a process and it won’t always be an easy one.’’
Miami had been holding teams to 41 percent shooting. Excluding a collapse Tuesday night against the Jazz, when they gave up 84 points after the first half in an overtime loss, they seemed to be building something defensively. Then the Celtics took sledgehammers to it, shooting 60 percent in the first half (compared with 44.7 percent in the first half of the season opener). On the other end, they forced Miami to miss 22 of its first 37 shots.
“I thought defensively, the first half, we were phenomenal,’’ Rivers said. “The difference between the first game and tonight for us is offensively we were way better. It was just, you can see our trust coming. If that can keep coming, we’re going to be really good.’’
Pierce scored 10 of his 25 points in the third quarter, when he was constantly jawing with former teammate Eddie House. With Pierce draped on him in the third quarter, James fired up an airball with 1:48 left, and Pierce posed, arm flexed, with pride.
Rajon Rondo, who dished out 17 assists in the opener, gave out another 16 last night.
Boston led by as many as 20 points. The Heat rarely sniffed the lead. They made 12 of their 18 shots in the third quarter, yet still went into the fourth trailing, 88-78.
The Heat are a team still searching, and since they won’t see the Celtics again until February, they’ll have three months to figure something out.
“It’s a long season,’’ Rondo said. “But it’s still early for them. People are probably counting them out now, but you never know. Just keep fighting, but we’ll be ready.’’