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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     MIAMI            15   24   22   14    75   
     BOSTON           20   29   30   19    98      FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   MIA - EDDIE JONES 22, MALIK ALLEN 10, UDONIS 
                      HASLEM 9
                BOS - PAUL PIERCE 23, ERIC WILLIAMS 15, VIN 
                      BAKER 15

HIGH REBOUND:   MIA - EDDIE JONES 8, JOHN WALLACE 7, UDONIS 
                      HASLEM 7
                BOS - TONY BATTIE 7, PAUL PIERCE 7, FOUR 
                      PLAYERS WITH 5

HIGH ASSISTS:   MIA - RAFER ALSTON 5, DWYANE WADE 4, UDONIS 
                      HASLEM 2
                BOS - MIKE JAMES 6, MARK BLOUNT 5, TWO PLAYERS
                      WITH 4

         ATT:   18,624

Box Score

MIAMI (75) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp E Jones 39 6-16 7-8 1-8 1 3 22 U Haslem 26 3-4 3-6 1-7 2 0 9 B Grant 28 3-7 2-2 1-4 0 4 8 D Wade 34 2-12 0-0 1-2 4 5 5 R Alston 36 3-6 2-2 0-3 5 1 8 J Wallace 19 2-6 2-2 0-7 1 2 7 L Woods 6 0-2 0-0 1-3 0 1 0 M Allen 26 5-10 0-0 0-1 1 1 10 S Walker 14 1-3 1-2 3-4 0 3 3 B Coles 9 0-3 1-2 0-0 0 0 1 J Beasley 3 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 L Odom DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT ANKLE _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 26-71 18-24 8-39 14 20 75 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.366, FT-.750. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (E Jones 3-6, D Wade 1-2, R Alston 0-3, J Wallace 1-1). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots:2 (J Wallace, R Alston). Turnovers:15 (E Jones 4, B Grant 3, J Wallace 2, S Walker 2, R Alston 2, M Allen 2). Steals: 4 (E Jones, J Wallace, M Allen, D Wade). BOSTON (98) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Brown 22 2-5 0-0 0-0 2 2 5 V Baker 26 6-8 3-5 1-5 2 5 15 M Blount 19 0-1 2-4 0-2 5 0 2 M James 28 4-10 2-2 0-5 6 2 12 P Pierce 35 8-15 6-7 1-7 4 2 23 E Williams 24 6-7 2-4 1-5 1 2 15 T Battie 22 4-4 2-2 0-7 1 1 10 M Banks 20 1-9 2-2 1-2 4 2 4 R LaFrentz 28 6-11 0-0 1-5 3 4 12 W Mccarty 13 0-2 0-0 0-2 0 2 0 J Welsch 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 J Jones DNP - STRAINED BILATERAL HAMSTR _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-73 19-26 5-40 28 23 98 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.507, FT-.731. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (K Brown 1-2, M James 2-6, P Pierce 1-3, E Williams 1-1, M Banks 0-2, R LaFrentz 0-1, W Mccarty 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots:9 (M Blount 4, R LaFrentz 3, T Battie 2). Turnovers:10 (P Pierce 3, E Williams, V Baker, T Battie, R LaFrentz, M James, M Banks, J Welsch). Steals: 9 (E Williams 3, M James 2, V Baker, T Battie, R LaFrentz, K Brown). ------------------------------------------- MIAMI 15 24 22 14 - 75 BOSTON 20 29 30 19 - 98 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Boston - 3 (Defensive Three, 5:22 1st; Defensive Three, 5:05 2nd; Defensive Three, 8:40 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,624. T: 2:10. Officials: Ed Malloy, Jess Kersey, Joe Derosa.


Extended Box

MIAMI (75) AT BOSTON (98) MIAMI REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === E JONES F 39 6-16 7-8 1 7 8 1 3 1 4 22 U HASLEM F 26 3-4 3-6 1 6 7 2 0 0 0 9 B GRANT C 28 3-7 2-2 1 3 4 0 4 0 3 8 D WADE G 34 2-12 0-0 1 1 2 4 5 1 0 5 R ALSTON G 36 3-6 2-2 0 3 3 5 1 0 2 8 J WALLACE 19 2-6 2-2 0 7 7 1 2 1 2 7 L WOODS 6 0-2 0-0 1 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 M ALLEN 26 5-10 0-0 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 10 S WALKER 14 1-3 1-2 3 1 4 0 3 0 2 3 B COLES 9 0-3 1-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 J BEASLEY 3 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 L ODOM DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT ANKLE TOTALS 240 26-71 18-24 8 31 39 14 20 4 15 75 (.366) (.750) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 16 (20 PTS) BOSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === K BROWN F 22 2-5 0-0 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 5 V BAKER F 26 6-8 3-5 1 4 5 2 5 1 1 15 M BLOUNT C 19 0-1 2-4 0 2 2 5 0 0 0 2 M JAMES G 28 4-10 2-2 0 5 5 6 2 2 1 12 P PIERCE G 35 8-15 6-7 1 6 7 4 2 0 3 23 E WILLIAMS 24 6-7 2-4 1 4 5 1 2 3 1 15 T BATTIE 22 4-4 2-2 0 7 7 1 1 1 1 10 M BANKS 20 1-9 2-2 1 1 2 4 2 0 1 4 R LAFRENTZ 28 6-11 0-0 1 4 5 3 4 1 1 12 W MCCARTY 13 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 J WELSCH 3 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 J JONES DNP - STRAINED BILATERAL HAMSTR TOTALS 240 37-73 19-26 5 35 40 28 23 9 10 98 (.507) (.731) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 10 (10 PTS) MIAMI 15 24 22 14 - 75 BOSTON 20 29 30 19 - 98 BLOCKED SHOTS: MIAMI - J WALLACE, R ALSTON. BOSTON - M BLOUNT 4, R LAFRENTZ 3, T BATTIE 2. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: MIAMI 5-12 (.417), E JONES 3-6, D WADE 1-2, R ALSTON 0- 3, J WALLACE 1-1. BOSTON 5-16 (.313), K BROWN 1-2, M JAMES 2-6, P PIERCE 1- 3, E WILLIAMS 1-1, M BANKS 0-2, R LAFRENTZ 0-1, W MCCARTY 0-1. TECHNICAL FOULS: BOSTON - DEFENSIVE THREE 3. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: ED MALLOY, JESS KERSEY, JOE DEROSA. A - 18,624. T - 2:10.


Game Story

BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics showcased the same old Paul Pierce and a new and improved Vin Baker. Pierce scored 23 points in a dominant floor game and Baker made a triumphant return with 15 points as the Celtics rolled to a season-opening 98-75 victory over the winless Miami Heat. A two-time All-Star, Pierce became the unquestioned leader of the Celtics last week, when fellow All-Star Antoine Walker was traded to Dallas in a five-player deal. He has much more responsibility, having to create opportunities for his teammates as well as himself while remaining the focal point of opposing defenses. "I think I know I have to step it up now and take a leadership role," Pierce said. "Tonight was a good example because we were able to get a lot of guys involved." Pierce did just that, scoring 18 points in the first half to help the Celtics to a 49-35 lead. He made 8-of-15 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and drew enough attention for five of his teammates to score in double figures. With Walker gone, the Celtics are looking for someone to fill the void. Baker made himself a candidate by sinking 6-of-8 shots, working mostly from the low post. "There is no question there's a different feeling on this team," Baker said. "Not just for me, but as a team." Acquired from Seattle in the summer of 2002, Baker had a nightmare first season in Boston, averaging career lows of 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds before being suspended by the team. The four-time All-Star later admitted to alcoholism and spent part of the offseason in a rehabilitation program. "I went down to see him at the hospital and we had a talk and right then he was already talking about tonight, when he could get back," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "He admitted his difficulties and he basically said, 'You can count on me next year. This is all going to be behind me.' So, yeah, I'm very, very proud of Vin Baker." Having lost 20 pounds and looking lean and a bit mean, Baker was welcomed back by the FleetCenter crowd, which gave him a loud cheer in pregame introductions and a standing ovation when he left the court in the fourth quarter. "It was the most special night of my career. That ovation coming out of the game was just a tremendous moment for me and my family, just the best night I've had as a player in the NBA," Baker said. "I'm so appreciative of the fans and the opportunity tonight, I'm just overwhelmed." "Vinny's really worked hard to get to where he is right now," Pierce said. "I'm happy because of so much he's been through. I look at this as a redemption year for him. It's a comeback that hopefully will turn out to be one of his best years." Eric Williams also scored 15 points for the Celtics, leading a strong bench effort. Raef LaFrentz - acquired in the Walker trade - added 12 points and Tony Battie 10 as Boston's reserves outscored Miami's, 41-22. "When you go up and down our bench you can see all the different people who contributed," Baker said. "No question, we're going to need this type of effort this season." Eddie Jones scored 22 points for the Heat, who were outscored in every quarter and lost for the second time in as many nights. Miami was without forward Lamar Odom, who sprained his right ankle in Tuesday's defeat at Philadelphia. Jumpers by Battie and Williams closed the first quarter and gave Boston a 20-15 lead. Pierce took over in the second quarter, scoring 12 points to widen the bulge to 49-39 at halftime. After a quiet first half, Baker opened the second half with a dunk and added a short jumper and two free throws to make it 61-46 with 8:22 left in the third quarter. LaFrentz got involved with eight points in the final six minutes of the period, giving Boston a 20-point lead. "I had to calm myself down," Baker said. "I had a lot of nervous energy and I had to bring myself down to a level ready to play because I was excited, and I just got a bit more comfortable and I think that's why I got some early fouls." "We look for him to be a big presence for us on the inside," Pierce said. "And that's what he was for us. When he got the ball he made good moves inside and got the job done." Former Heat Mike James, who beat out rookie Marcus Banks for starting point guard, had 12 points and six assists for Boston, which shot 51 percent (37-of-73) while holding Miami under 37 percent (26-of-71). Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who scored 18 points but suffered a bruised hip Tuesday, was limited to five on 2-of-12 shooting. "We need to adjust our intensity," Heat center Brian Grant said. "We haven't brought it. I haven't brought it as the starting center. I need to get my (stuff) together."


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