Thursday October 4, 2012

MIAMI -- Still getting used to his new surroundings in Miami, Ray Allen went to the wrong end of the court when it was time to line up for the national anthem.

Once play began, he looked right at home.

No longer looked upon as a villainous character in Miami, Allen got tons of cheers from the crowd when the reigning NBA champion Heat held an open scrimmage before about 10,000 fans on Wednesday night, his unofficial introduction of sorts to South Florida. And the former Boston Celtics guard wasted no time making his new backers happy, hitting the first 3-pointer he tried while wearing Heat colors.

The Red team beat the White team 69-56, which couldn’t have been more irrelevant since many players switched teams during the scrimmage.

"We are excited to get this thing started again," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the crowd.

It starts for real on Oct. 30, when the Heat will raise a second championship banner and get their rings, then open the season against Boston. The Celtics are still very much a rival -- just ask the two women in Boston jerseys, one Allen’s and one Rajon Rondo’s, who were booed out of the arena.

Allen, however, is now welcomed.

Bringing back memories of how the Heat hit 14 3-pointers in last season’s NBA-title-clinching win over Oklahoma City, Miami was busy from the beginning from beyond the arc. The first points of the scrimmage came on a 3-pointer by Shane Battier; the next three were from Allen, who took a pass from fellow Miami newcomer Rashard Lewis and connected from the left corner, immediately in front of the Heat bench.

Heat owner Micky Arison couldn’t contain his smile, nor could Allen, and the building gave him a loud roar.

Most of the Heat rotation players took part, including reigning NBA MVP LeBron James. The exceptions: Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony all sat out to rest ailments for the Heat, who open the preseason Sunday in Atlanta and then fly to China that night for two games next week against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"I’m getting better every day. .... I decided not to go today, but I’m OK," Wade said.

While much of the night was about the fans -- tickets were free, and players made their way down to the court through the stands, slapping high-fives along the way -- there still was business for the Heat to address. Team president Pat Riley sat at Arison’s table, occasionally scribbling notes, while Spoelstra and assistant Ron Rothstein sat on the other side to study the proceedings. Assistants Keith Askins and David Fizdale did the coaching from the benches.

All the attention wasn’t always on what was happening on the floor, however.

The two women in Celtics jerseys created stirs in the stands at least twice -- "Will all Celtics fans please exit the building?" Wade asked at one point, grabbing a courtside microphone as he and James spotted the commotion -- and another man was booed for waving a Kobe Bryant jersey at the crowd.