PHILADELPHIA — LeBron James and Kevin Durant will be elsewhere for the Celtics' Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
That does not mean that Celtics coach Doc Rivers believes his team will have it easy in this round. Not only were the Sixers locked with the Celtics at 1-1 entering Wednesday's Game 3, they presented substantial matchup for the favored guys in green.
"They're a young team, they're an athletic team and they create very tough matchups," Rivers said. "I think that is overlooked with this team. I think it's easier to look at the Miamis and the Oklahoma Cities and see that they have the Durants and the LeBrons and see the star power. So you look at that team and everyone, not just the players but the media, everyone, immediately gives that team respect.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley and ESPN's Bruce Bowen made similar statements to the effect that the Celtics lost Game 2 due to a failure to respect the Sixers as an opponent. Rivers remarked Wednesday that "obviously, that's not true," and added that a lack of star power did not keep the Sixers from advancing this far.
"You tend to think the star teams always beat them," Rivers said. "So far, they've proven that's not true."
Check out Rivers' full comments in the video above.