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PRO BASKETBALL : GAME OF THE DAY

Celtics ring in new season with a win

October 29, 2008|associated press

BOSTON -- Banner No. 17 went up in the rafters, and win No. 1 went in the books.

NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce scored 27 points as the defending champion Boston Celtics followed an emotional ring ceremony and banner raising Tuesday night with a 90-85 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James scored 22 but missed a driving layup with 41 seconds left and two free throws in the last 11 seconds.

In their first meaningful game since beating the Lakers to clinch their record 17th NBA title, the Celtics held a 20-minute pregame ceremony that brought Pierce to tears.

The Celtics captain -- the longest-tenured member of the team -- choked up when handed the championship trophy from Hall of Famer John Havlicek, and again when he received his ring from owner Wyc Grousbeck. Once all the players had received their rings, Pierce took the lead in pulling the ropes that slid the "2008 World Champions" banner into the rafters.

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