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April 26, 2017

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Celtics beat Heat in NBA opener; James says it will take time to gel

BOSTON -- It will take little time to get accustomed to all of the talent on the Miami Heat, LeBron James said after his side were beaten 88-80 by the Boston Celtics in their highly anticipated season-opener on Tuesday.

"It's a feel out process," said James, who scored 31 points but had eight turnovers in the nationally televised game played in front of sold-out raucous crowd hurling insults. "When you have so many options it's something I'm not accustomed to, having that many threats out on the court at the same time."

The two-time league MVP, who played seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and fellow free agent Chris Bosh signed with Miami in the off-season, joining perennial All-Star Dwyane Wade in South Florida to create a potential juggernaut.

The Heat will undoubtedly lose games this season but it is unlikely they will play before an empty seat — at home or away.

With so much talent, they will be loved at home, vilified on the road, and on television as much as possible.

"We've played in hostile environments before, so that's respect," said Wade, who misfired on 12 of 16 shots against the Celtics and had six turnovers.

The seven-year NBA veteran said the Heat have to "get used to playing with each other and get used to the attention this team is going to have on them."

Bosh Ineffective

Bosh was just as ineffective as Wade, making just three of 11 shots while creating little of the inside presence the Heat are going to need if they are to challenge for the title.

"We know what's going on," said Bosh. "We know that a lot of people are watching. We know a lot of people are really putting us under the microscope. We know that. It's evident.

"You turn on the TV, you see what's going on, you see what people are talking about. That's a part of the game. That's what it is.

"We knew it was going to be like that. Dealing with it is another thing. But at the end of the day, it's going to be here, it's not going anywhere. We just have to settle down."

James compares the talent on the Heat to the U.S. Olympic squad that won the gold medal in Beijing.

"It kind of reminded me at times throughout the USA practices," said James, who had little help during much of his time in Cleveland.

"Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) really had to get on us one day because we were being too unselfish because we had so many options.

"You saw me and D Wade tonight had 14 turnovers between us. A lot of them was being too unselfish when we had an open look. You're going to have that early.

"As the cohesiveness continues to get better, we've got to protect the ball more."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said over-eagerness by his players to force cohesiveness on Tuesday had counted against them.

"There's no reason to panic right now," he said.

"We knew this would be a little bit of a process, and this is the first step."

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