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This article was published 28/10/2012 (1368 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MIAMI -- There's no shortage of potentially awkward events for Ray Allen to endure Tuesday night.
Most of his new Miami Heat teammates will get championship rings; he won't be among them. When the franchise's second title banner gets raised to the rafters, Allen isn't sure how he's supposed to react. And all that hubbub will occur as his past collides with his future -- his former team, the Boston Celtics, will be the opponent awaiting the Heat when their pre-game tribute to the 2012 NBA title ends.
"It's their moment," Allen said.
It is, however, loaded with irony -- since Allen was on the team that almost thwarted Miami's title plans.
Allen was with the Celtics last season when they took the Heat to seven games in a classic Eastern Conference final. Then came the summer, when Allen spurned Boston and signed with Miami, changing sides in the rivalry with just a few strokes of a pen. And deep down, he knew long ago things would work out this way: Celtics-Heat, opening night, a marquee matchup to get the season started.
He was right.
"I've gotten over it now to the point where you just say, you can celebrate their success," Allen said. "More than anything, I'm just focused on once that's over with, we have a game to go out and win."
That's a mantra shared by just about everyone in the Heat locker-room.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both said they would have preferred the ring ceremony to happen tonight, so nothing interferes with the importance of the game Tuesday night. Chris Bosh said the celebration could inspire both teams -- since he remembers how hungry his team was for last season's opener when Dallas raised the title banner it won at Miami's expense, then got blown out by the Heat.
The final margin was only 11 points; the Heat led by 35 less than four minutes into the second half.
Allen's changing of addresses adds substantially more spice to a rivalry that didn't really need any extra oomph. James and Paul Pierce have been waging some duels for nearly a decade now. The Heat and Celtics have met in the playoffs in each of the last three years, Miami winning the last two since James and Bosh came to join Wade.
In some respects, Allen is eager for Tuesday night to end, if only in that Wednesday morning may bring some normalcy.
"We can move on," Allen said. "We can move on. I think it's two-fold, having a ring ceremony and then playing Boston. It's like both situations, letting go of what happened last year and moving forward. They're repeating, but I'm on the quest for a championship. That's a challenge that we're all facing together."
-- The Associated Press