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Doc Rivers wants Celtics focused on Heat, not Lakers

Sep 17, 2012, 11:25 AM EDT

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Lakers vs. Celtics. It’s the NBA’s legendary rivalry. Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain. Magic vs. Bird. Kevin Garnett vs. Kobe Bryant. It is the balloons in the rafters of the Forum. It is the baby skyhook.

It is not what Doc Rivers wants his Celtics focused on.

With the Lakers pickups of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash they are back in the contender conversation, which leads fans to think Lakers/Celtics. But Doc Rivers said that should not be the Celtics primary concern — Miami must be. Rivers spoke at an event for Action For Boston Community Development’s Hoop Dreams event, agreeing to be interviewed by legendary Boston sports columnist Bob Ryan and here is what he said (transcription via Celtics Blog, more video below).

Honestly, I don’t care about the Lakers…I have my eye squarely on Miami. I come up to my players during the year-they’re in the facility now-I bring up Miami every single day to them. I want them to hate them. I want them to beat them. That’s gotta be our focus.

To be fair, Rivers did talk Lakers/Celtics a little. He liked the idea of the Lakers running Princeton offense sets because it would require Kobe to pass the ball and things are better when it’s not in his hands. And he talks about what a challenge Andrew Bynum was, not Howard.

But to face the Lakers in the finals the Celtics have to get past Miami. And Rivers talked about how to get past Miami as well.

We have to get to the foul line because when you get to the foul line-that’s one of the big things now in our league-if you can get to the foul line, you can become a dominant defensive team because you get to set your defense every single time.

If you keep missing shots against Miami, you’re going to let them run back and forth. I told our guys, “I’m smart enough to know that if we get in a track meet with Miami, they’re probably going to win, but if we get in a thinking meet, we will win that game.”

We want them to think. We want them to play under thought, not with their instincts.

Sentences that will end up on the Heat’s white board in the locker room this season include “if we get in a thinking meet, we will win that game.” LeBron James and Dwyane Wade don’t see it that way.

But Doc Rivers is right about the big picture — being ready to beat the Lakers doesn’t matter if you can’t get out of your own conference. The Miami Heat are the best team in the NBA, they are the defending champions. They are the hurdle. The Lakers are another problem for another day.

  1. congocash - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    The big 2…

    • jjordannba - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      No No Rondo’s still there

  2. goldmember21 - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Exactly.. Big 2 lol

  3. Uri Shavit - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Reblogged this on @Uri Shavit and commented:
    It’s a good thing for the Celtics to focus on the Heat, if they focus on the Lakers, well, it will just get them depressed !

  4. miamatt - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Doc’s got the right mindset. As a Heat fan I can’t stand the Celtics whenever we play them, but I have nothing but respect and admiration for Doc Rivers. For my money, he’s the best coach in the NBA right now.

    • guyaneserj - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      I’m a Heat Fan too and have to 100% agree with ur comments Miamatt

      • sellahh - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        I’m a Laker fan and have to agree, would love Doc coaching mai Lakeshow.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Sep 18, 2012 at 6:27 AM

        Laker fan too. Agree 100%. Much respect for Doc. Would love to have him on the Laker bench.

  5. paulhargis53 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Doc is right. Odds are the Lakers dont come out of the West anyway.

    • bozosforall - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM

      Odds are the Puh C’s won’t beat the Heat anyway, leaving pudhummer53 crying in his mommy’s arms once again.

  6. michaeljordanseviltwin - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Doc Rivers is a much better interview than most coaches. Far fewer meaningless cliches and more honestly like admitting that he wants his guys to hate Miami. We all know they hate Miami but at least he’s willing to say it.

    • guyaneserj - Sep 19, 2012 at 7:48 AM

      That’s why as a Heat Fan, I have respect for him and his even more so his coaching abilities, as previously stated, wld love him as da Heat coach…

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