They opened against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston right in the Celtics’ home turf.
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The Heat still struggled with cohesion problems, which is experienced by most revamped teams. The Erik Spoelstra-mentored Heat trailed from 12 to 15 points in the first three quarters and the closest they got to the Celtics was within three points in the fourth quarter. Boston eventually won, 88-80.
James scored a total of 31 points. The Boston-Miami opener was envisioned by many as a preview of the East finals. The Celtics were led by Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and their newest recruit, Shaquille O’Neal.
Other NBA stars will play for different teams this year. Amare Stoudemire who played for the Phoenix Suns, moved East to the Big Apple and joined the Knicks. Carlos Boozer also moved from Utah to Chicago but injured his hand in a household accident, delaying his Bulls debut for a couple of months.
A bunch of hotshot rookies will also make this season even more exciting. Blake Griffin, the top pick of last year’s draft, will finally get to strut his stuff as he makes his NBA regular season debut after recuperating from an operation last year. John Wall heads a bumper crop of rookies from the 2010 draft who are out to prove that they belong in the big league.
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“Is vertical climbing a sport?” I asked Jacque Ruby of Discovery Channel, which is staging this one-of-a kind event here in the Philippines late next month.
Ruby has been talking about this run and climb event for months, but my impression was it’s strictly a stair-climbing activity and whoever goes up and down in the shortest time wins.
Ruby wasn’t sure if it was a sport, but he said people all over the world engage in this activity competitively.
“I guess it must be a sport now because there are national sports associations of vertical marathon in many countries. From what I’m told, this is the first time it will be staged here in the Philippines.
“Athletes usually engage in this activity to train and condition themselves for another sport. It’s what jogging and running are to basketball, for example.
“The Empire State building is a favorite venue,” he said, and he hasn’t heard anyone doing it suffer from a heart attack.
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Discovery’s vertical marathon, dubbed “Run and Climb for the Environment” will be held at the Bonifacio E-Services Bldg. in Taguig on Nov. 27. Participants will run 9 ramps of parking spaces, climb up the stairs to the 25th floor, return to the lobby and run around the park to finish the race. Runners in the elite category are required to go through the course twice.
“We invite all running enthusiasts to join. The participant only needs to be healthy and in good physical condition. Finishers of the marathon can win a Chevy Cruze in a raffle draw and the top Filipino finisher from the elite division will represent the Philippines in the Swisshotel vertical marathon in Singapore,” Jacque said.
The vertical marathon involves three forms of running with varying physical and cardiovascular demands: road running, ramp running and stair climbing. This activity burns twice as many calories than any other sport or activity, achieves the same intensity of a workout in less time, strengthens the arms and builds muscles mass in the legs.