Rivers recently sat down with The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan for a Q&A, and among the topics of conversation was the Miami Heat, who ousted the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Boston coach said that the Heat are always on his mind, and he's working hard to get the C's ready to compete with Miami in the Eastern Conference again this season.
"Honestly, I don't care about the Lakers. My honest thought as a coach right now … I have my eye squarely on Miami," Rivers said. "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 got to be our focus.
"I think the Lakers are better," Rivers continued. "I'm actually not one that thinks they're way better. The guy they traded, [Andrew] Bynum, we struggled to guard him. Dwight [Howard] is a great player, but we've guarded him pretty well. Offensively, the [Steve] Nash part is different. I look at them and wonder how that's going to work. I hear they're going to run the Princeton offense, which I want to see the ball move, I want to see Kobe [Bryant] keep moving the ball. But it'll be interesting. They're really good."
Rivers said he feels that in order for the Celtics to overcome the Heat, they'll have to force LeBron James and Co. to really start thinking. If the Celtics get into a track meet with the Heat, Rivers thinks Miami has the advantage.
"We want them to think," Rivers said. "We want them to play under thought, not with their instincts."
The Celtics won't have to wait long to get their first crack at starting a "thinking meet." The C's and Heat will square off on Opening Night in Miami on Oct. 30.
H/T to CelticsBlog.com