The Boston Celtics should hate the Miami Heat, at least according to Doc Rivers.
The Celtics coach recently said he wants that message to be clear among all his players, too.
“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.”
Considering recent history, those players have a lot of reasons to dislike the defending NBA champions.
Miami knocked Boston out of the playoffs the past two seasons, first in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2011 and then the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.
But, the 2012 loss was definitely a tough one to swallow. Boston had the Heat on the brink of elimination but could not close the deal on their home court. Miami proved they were the better team against the injury-ridden Celtics, and all of Celtics nation had to painfully watch LeBron James get his first championship ring.
The Celtics have other incentives to beat the Heat this year. Ray Allen left Boston for Miami, and no matter how much the organization wanted him to stay, it is highly likely those players and coaches want nothing more than to prove he made the wrong decision.
The Heat will undoubtedly be one of the favorites to win this year’s championship, but the Celtics could also be in the mix. Boston did a great job of enhancing its roster, but only time and 80+ games will tell.