Celtics will host Heat, LeBron on Opening Night
Miami’s new Big Three will be making their regular-season debut against the Celtics’ Big Three at TD Garden.
According to a league sources, the revamped Heat, featuring the daunting trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, will open the NBA season against the Celtics Oct. 26, a clash that will be nationally televised by TNT.
The league will release its opening week and Christmas Day schedules tonight on NBA TV, and it’s expected that the Heat and Celtics will be prevalent in those games.
The Celtics have spent the offseason appearing unconvinced the Heat are the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, despite their impressive additions. Not only did Miami sign two-time MVP James and All-Star Bosh to join perennial All-Star Wade, they added Mike Miller, Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Juwan Howard, and re-signed Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, and Carlos Arroyo.
Boston signed former Heat center Jermaine O’Neal and swingman Von Wafer, and re-signed Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Nate Robinson, and Marquis Daniels with hopes of making another title run with a healthier Kevin Garnett.
James played his final game as a Cleveland Cavalier in Boston May 13, with the Celtics winning Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. James, the most sought-after free agent of this generation, spoke with six teams that cleared salary cap space for his services and finally decided on the Heat during a much-maligned nationally televised special July 8. James has taken his share of criticism for leaving Cleveland after seven seasons but his addition, along with Bosh, adds instant credibility to a Heat franchise that has been sagging since winning the 2006 title.
The Celtics will start the regular season without defensive-minded center Kendrick Perkins, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The club is seeking another long-range shooter as well as a big man to complete its roster.
The complete NBA regular-season schedule will be unveiled on NBA.com Aug. 10.
- Gary Washburn, NBA writer
- Baxter Holmes, Celtics beat writer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer