Sunday 16th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

“I Want Them To Hate Miami”, Says Doc Rivers

The Miami Heat make everyone look old. I mean, everyone.

They make dynasties look antiquated before they’re even officially dynasties. Every fast break, every globetrotter alley-oop attempt was a slap in the face against which teams had no defense. For every game played against the Heat last year, it seemed like a team got older.

There was no stopping this team. A few squads looked good in trying to slow the Heat down. But even in a grind-out kind of game, Miami usually came out on top. It made opposing fans (and some players) really mad. The futility of it all provoked a certain set of reactions. A professional would describe an adverse reaction as “competitive”. As fans, “we hated those jerks.”

Evidently, Doc Rivers thinks being a fan is the answer against the Heat.

On a sit-down Q&A with Bob Ryan, Doc made his thoughts known that one team in LA and that other team in Miami:

“Honestly, I don’t care about the Lakers. When this trade [for Howard] went down, my first thought was, ‘if we played the Lakers [as they are now] in the Finals, all is good’. I would love the opportunity. But my honest thought as a coach now, I have my eyes squarely on Miami. I bring Miami up every single day to [the players]. I want them to hate them, I want them to beat them”.

Via Youtuber TheFabEmpire

I can imagine that many Celtics fans are going to be pleased about hearing this. It should also be noted how rare this kind of admission is.

Consider the guy speaking here. Rivers is one of the league’s most respected coaches. Though his signature is a voice that grows more hoarse as the game progresses, Doc is known to be a calm and measured strategist. Having to sit through a number of off-seasons riddled with “age concerns” and the like, while still finishing the last few years on a strong note, Doc has been a resourceful coach. He brought his team together (successfully) under the concept of Ubuntu, rallying vets and pups alike.

The kind of statement we’d expect from a coach like Rivers would be something along the neutral lines of: “Yeah, they’re a good team (Miami), but we’re worrying about what we do.”, or something like that.

The last time I heard Doc Rivers say anything significant about the Heat, it was after Lebron’s monster game 6 from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. A seemingly subdued coach stated, “I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and he doesn’t play in big games”. One wouldn’t be too far off in suggesting that he was defending the man that beat him in a game 6 at home.

Here’s a vid of Doc’s interview with Bob Ryan, courtesy of TheFabEmpire:

Maybe we’re reading too far into this. Maybe Doc was trying to show Bob Ryan, his players, and who ever happened to be listening that the Heat bested them and the Celtics were motivated by their defeat. Maybe it wasn’t Doc suggesting that his players, like a fan, actually hate a team, rather than take the professional’s approach and just compete.

Then again, maybe Miami just has Doc (and the Celtics) feeling a little bit older these days.

Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also a contributor at “Les Snobs”. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim

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