MIAMI As much as Tuesday night's Boston-Miami game was about the Heat getting their championship bling for what they accomplished last season, it was just as much a coming out party of sorts for former Celtic Ray Allen with his new team.
Allen didn't disappoint his new fans in helping Miami kick off the new season with a 120-107 victory over the Celtics.
In a role similar to the one he had near the end of the season in Boston - coming off the bench - Allen had 19 points on Tuesday which included a handful of shot clock buzzer-beaters - a Ray Allen staple.
While the Heat certainly love what Ray can do as a player, the focus for many was on how Allen would interact with his former team; specifically Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.
When Allen entered the game in the first quarter, Ray Allen made his way towards the Celtics bench - his first interaction with his former team since signing with the Miami Heat.
After a brief embrace with Doc Rivers and the C's assistant coaches, Allen tapped Garnett's shoulder - he was on the bench resting at that point - to which Garnett did not reply or even acknowledge the contact.
"You guys know KG. Did you expect him to react?" Allen told a large crowd after the game that included Boston-area media. "I don't take anything from it. Kevin is, he's an intense competitor. On the bench, he's in a different world, a different zone. The five years I played with him, you have to respect that."
Said Garnett: "Understand I am an intense person. Other than that, I drew a blank. I just saw the Heat (jersey) in front of him. Obviously he's on the other side. I just try to play the game, man."
And apparently so does Allen, who hurt the C's with many of the same big shots that he helped them win with during the past five seasons.
His first shot, as if it was part of a Hollywood script, was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the corner.
Allen would go on to hit a couple more buzzer-beaters for good measure.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was not only impressed with Allen's play, but even more so the poise he displayed in what was clearly an uncomfortable position to be in at the start of the season.
"I'm sure it had to be very emotional for him in terms of a lot of things that he was feeling," Spoelstra said. "We wanted to win this game for a lot of different reasons. We wanted to do it because it was ceremony night, but we talked about it, when we acquire new players they inherit everything that we've experienced, but we inherit also whatever they've experienced and we wanted to win for our brother."
But as much as Allen is at peace with his decision to be part of the Heat family, he at times found himself forgetting that he's no longer a Celtic.
"It was very strange," Allen said. "A couple times I would see somebody running down the floor, and I had to ask myself, 'who was I guarding? Which team was I guarding?' Because I'm looking at both jerseys and my inclination was to guard the Miami jersey but I caught myself."
Well, he caught himself most of the game.
"I think one time I gave Brandon Bass dap one time he was running down the floor. I had to catch myself," Allen said. "My brain right now has to be switched over."
Rivers was among the many Celtics to praise Allen for a solid performance.
"Ray was terrific," Rivers said. "He went (to his) right all game and we allowed him to, but he made a lot of shots."
Said Bass: "It was good seeing Ray. Ray Allen was a great player here (in Boston) and a great guy in the locker room.
That said, Bass added, "we wanted to beat him, but it didn't happen."
Rivers was surprised Allen was open from the corner the first time he checked into the game, of which Allen made them pay.
"You would think we would know better," Rivers said.
Allen knocking down shots is not a surprise.
That's kind of what you come to expect from a player who has made more three-pointers than anyone in NBA history, and has established himself as a virtual lock for the NBA Hall of Fame if Father Time ever catches up to him.
The unknown heading into the game had to deal with Allen's interactions with his old teammates.
"Regardless of how they feel, I have nothing but great things, warm sentiments going in their direction," Allen said. "You could be angry at me, but that's not going to change how I feel about you."