BOSTON (CBS) – While the talk around the NBA has mostly been on the revamped Los Angeles Lakers, Doc Rivers wants his Boston Celtics focused on their main foe in the Eastern Conference.
“Honestly, I don’t care about the Lakers,” Rivers told Bob Ryan last week at an ABCD camp in Boston, which drew a large applause from the crowd. “My honest thought as a coach right now, I have my eye squarely on Miami.”
The Heat are the ones responsible for the Celtics getting a longer summer break this year, and Rivers is making sure that point is hammered home.
“I come up to my players during the year — they’re in the facility now — I bring up Miami every single day to them,” said Doc. “I want them to hate them. I want them to beat them. That’s got to be our focus.”
Hate is a strong word, but in a basketball-sense there are much worse words that could have been used. And Doc is certainly not wrong to have his team eyeing Miami — and they won’t alone. With that banner Miami will raise on October 30 also comes a bull’s-eye on their backs.
Stats: Celtics Depth Chart
As for the Lakers, Rivers is still impressed with what they’ve done in the offseason, but isnt ready to crown them just yet.
“I think the Lakers are better, but I’m not one who thinks they are way better. The guy they traded, for us, we struggled guarding,” Rivers said of Andrew Bynum, who the Celtics will have to deal with four times now that he’s on the Sixers. “Dwight (Howard) is a great player, but we’ve guarded him pretty well.”
“Offensively, the (Steve) Nash part is different,” Doc continued. “I wonder how that’s going to work. They are going to run the Princeton offense, which I want to see the ball move. I want to see Kobe keep moving the ball; I’m actually going to love that.”
The Celtics kick off the NBA season in Miami against the Heat on October 30.