Doc Rivers about the Heat: “I want them to hate them. That’s got to be our focus.”
Doc Rivers is usually a mild-mannered man. Despite the fact that he has those occasional outbursts on the sideline or has to rally his guys back from a deficit at a crucial part of the regular or post season, Rivers is not a man filled with hatred. He barely even has a bad thing to say about his opponents, especially the Miami Heat.
That is all set to change this season as Rivers understands that to get to an NBA championship the Boston Celtics have to go through the Heat first and foremost. SBNation’s Celtics Blog reports that as Bob Ryan sat down with the famed Celtics coach, he spouted off about how he is not necessarily concerned with the Los Angeles Lakers, but more so the Heat.
Going into this season, Rivers wants to make sure that there is no love lost between the two franchises, namely from his players.
“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.”
The sentiment is well thought out. Rivers knows how emotional his players can be and how they feed off of their will and their chemistry more than their skill. Not to say that the Celtics’ players are not in the top-tier of the league talent-wise. Still, it is not hard to recognize that there passion plays a huge role in their success as a franchise.
Rivers is only forcing players like Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to thrive off of that pain and disappointment they felt in the two consecutive Eastern Conference Finals’ series.
Watching LeBron James win his first ring had to make the team cringe and creating a target on Miami’s back only fuels that fire for the squad to succeed. Hating the Heat should come naturally to the Celtics by now. That is not going to be a challenge. Their egos have worked their emotions into a bunch regarding the South Beach conglomerate.
Trumping Miami in another Eastern Conference Finals’ series is going to be the kicker. The Heat have only improved and they have two of the best players on the planet rallying in their favor.
It is a step in the right direction, but Rivers is going to have to pull a few more tricks out of his bag for that type of malice to forge victory.