Heat to get rings; Celtics won’t watch
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI – Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers remembers seeing tears on forward Paul Pierce’s face during the team’s ring ceremony to start the 2008-09 season.
Rivers turned to his assistants and said the Celtics, who defeated the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2007-08 title, had no chance against the Cleveland Cavaliers that night in the season opener.
Rivers was wrong. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers, and then-Cavs forward LeBron James, 90-85.
Tonight, the Celtics and James will be on the other side of the ring ceremony when the Heat celebrate their 2011-12 championship in front of their home crowd.
The Heat beat the Celtics in seven games in last season’s Eastern Conference finals.
“We’re looking forward to playing in front of our home fans. We know it’s a special night,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We want to honor and respect what we were able to accomplish collectively.
“We want to do it for our fans, but we also want to make sure the main thing is the main thing, and that’s to perform and play to our best level. We don’t want to ruin the night. … We don’t want to celebrate (the title) and stink up the joint.”
The Celtics will avoid watching the ceremony – Rivers joked the team will be in the locker room watching Scandal or Homeland.
While the Heat want fans to enjoy the night, Miami guard Dwyane Wade said he would rather have had the ring ceremony Monday night so the players aren’t so emotionally drained by time the opener tips off.
But that’s not the way it works. NBA Commissioner David Stern and league staffers left the New York City region Sunday to beat Hurricane Sandy and plan to be in attendance.
Wade can be excused for his call on ring ceremonies. In the 2006-07 opener, the season after the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA title, the Chicago Bulls beat Miami 108-66.
“I’m not a good example of the ring ceremony,” said Wade, who got his first NBA title ring that night. “I keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to relive that moment. We didn’t do … [For more on Heat to get NBA championship rings; Celtics won't watch, click here.]