Jan 11, 2011, 9:40 AM EST
Last season it was all about Boston being healthy.
Doc Rivers sacrificed games — Boston was 11-11 in their last 22 — to get healthy and have players rested for the playoffs. Boston fell to the four seed, but Rivers got the physically ready veteran team he wanted. They came within a quarter of getting new rings to wear.
This season, with the Celtics loss to the pesky Rockets Monday night, the Heat moved a full game ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference. Both Orlando — winners of nine straight — and the Bulls are three games back of Boston and are closing on them.
But who cares about seeding and home court, right? Wrong. Doc Rivers cares and told ESPN this isn’t last year.
“This year’s not like last year, where you can coast,” Rivers admitted. “You don’t have home court this year, you could go home.”
Understand that part of Rivers motivation in saying what he did is to light a fire under a Celtics team that has played some pretty bad defense recently with Kevin Garnett out. It’s about motivation.
But he’s also right. Having to win two series in a row on the road in this East is going to be much harder than it was last time around. Boston — and every team in the East — needs some home court. It matters more this season. And with that, little January slumps are harder to overlook.
- Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points 19
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: The Hawks clinched playoff spot in front of Josh Smith 5
- Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach 18
- Report: Russell Westbrook ‘likely’ to return to Thunder lineup Wednesday, will wear protective mask 13
- Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw 29
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Goran Dragic got his revenge in concentrated form 5
- League suspends James Harden one game for kick to LeBron James’ groin 23
- PBT’s weekly NBA Power Rankings: Hawks seem to be out of malaise. Maybe. 11