The hype surrounding LeBron, Wade and the Miami Heat has been nothing short of suffocating. Last nights season opener was supposed to be the beginning of their season long coronation, instead Shaquille ‘The Big Shamrock’ O’Neal and his crew had other ideas.
As the Boston Celtics fans serenaded the Heat with chants of "Overrated!” during last night's season opening 88-80 win, you couldn’t help thinking the guys from South Beach are going to hear that a lot this summer, and it’s only partially their fault. Quick, name three Heat players other than LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Not easy, eh? The only NBA team with its own special page on ESPN (the asinine ‘Heat Index’) is ‘team’ in name only. In reality its three superstars and a bunch of low salary additions, including a bench that will struggle against nearly every other NBA bench this season.
For the Celtics, the season opener could not have gone better. The parts assembled by Danny Ainge all fitted together perfectly. O’Neal made a nice splash in relatively short minutes while Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis almost stole the show with a very effective 29 minutes including 13 points and 5 rebounds. Pierce, Allen and Garnett all played their part. The Heat had two players with over 10 points. The Shamrocks had four (and one narrowly missing that with 9).
One final note, apparently size does matter. The Celtics are now one of the biggest teams in the league, with Ainge bringing in Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Semih Erden to add to Garnett, Perkins and Big Baby. The Celtics outscored Miami 38-24 ‘in the paint’. How will Miami handle the best big man in the league, Orlando’s Dwight Howard? On first look, they may struggle against teams with talented big men.
There aren’t many ‘bigs’ with more veteran talent than The Big Shamrock, and Celtics fans were treated to a motivated, healthy Shaquille O’Neal last night, and early results were very, very promising.