MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Heat take the court Tuesday night in the regular season opener against the Boston Celtics, the biggest storyline may be sitting on the bench at the beginning of the game.
Heat guard Ray Allen will be coming off the bench for the team, but the star guard simply being in a Heat jersey is enough to make nearly every Celtics fans' blood boil. Allen was a key cog in the original Big Three in Boston along with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Together, the Celtics' Big Three captured an NBA Championship and were constants in the playoffs every year. But, as Rajon Rondo emerged as a star point guard, Allen's role slowly started to diminish with the Celtics.
Allen and Rondo had a troubled relationship off the court last year and Allen became less of a factor for the Celtics as the season went on, especially in the playoffs, mainly due to an ankle injury that required surgery in the offseason.
The Celtics went all in to try to re-sign Allen and the only other team in consideration was the Heat. When he came to Miami, Heat president Pat Riley rolled out the welcome mat and Allen said made him feel welcome and wanted as a player.
Since he signed with the Heat, there has been plenty of back-and-forth in the media as the Celtics try to distance themselves from Allen. But even he doesn't know what to expect when he takes the court for the first time against Boston in a Heat jersey Tuesday night.
"I'm excited for these guys having spent time around them over the last two, three months getting to know them and their families," Allen told Comcast Sports New England. "I'm for happy for them that they won, but at the same time they beat me and put us out. I understand the emotions that Boston will feel watching the ceremony, but at the same time I'm excited for these guys (Heat)."
Heat superstar Dwyane Wade said the team felt a sense of needing to win for Allen, but also recognized that it's the first game of the season and everything the Heat do is in preparation for next year's playoffs.
Allen said there is no bad blood between him and his former teammates.
"I've said it time and time again, we've share probably the most special thing you can do in sports…going all the way to the top," Allen CSNNE.com. "When I see Paul, I'm not going to be angry at him or anybody else. I'm happy. I'm excited. I look forward to seeing all those guys."
The Heat expect Allen to do exactly what he has done throughout his distinguished career, shoot 3-pointers that put daggers into the hearts of opponents. Allen expects to see quite a few open looks as defenses collapse or double-team LeBron James, Wade, or Chris Bosh.
Miami and Boston tip-off at 8 p.m. at the AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday night. The game can also be seen on TNT.
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