Doc Rivers wants Celtics to hate Heat
by Lang Greene, Hoopsworld.com
Last season, the Boston Celtics came just one win away from making their third NBA Finals appearance since the 2008 campaign, losing to the eventual champion Miami Heat in seven grueling games in the Eastern Conference finals.
After the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this summer, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was inundated with questions about what those acquisitions mean to Boston.
Rivers made it clear his focus isn’t on any of the teams on the West Coast. Beating the Heat is his top priority for the 2013 campaign.
“Honestly, I don’t care about the Lakers,” Rivers told veteran reporter Bob Ryan during a Q&A session at Boston Community Development Group’s Hoop Dreams event. “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.”
Rivers also stressed the need for his team to get to the free throw line more and said the best way to beat Miami would be to engage them in a “thinking meet” and not a “track meet.”
“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,” Rivers said. “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.”
The Celtics have been busy during the offseason, adding Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Jeff Green and Jason Collins to the roster.
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