WALTHAM, Mass. — When Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in Hollywood this summer, the prevailing opinion was
that the Los Angeles Lakers were now unequivocally the NBA's best team. With
Howard, Nash, Bryan and Gasol teamed with Metta World Peace, the Lakers may
have the top starting five in the league.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers is not ready to crown the Lakers
yet, though, and after practice on Thursday he repeated his assertion that the
best team resides on South Beach. Unsurprisingly, the team that outlasted his
Celtics in last season's Eastern Conference Finals is never far from Rivers'
"Well, they shouldn't be," Rivers said. "A
lot of teams shouldn't be. Philly, Atlanta, you can go down the list. There's a
lot of good teams in the East. We're going to have to get through them all to
get where we want to go, but the best team in the NBA is Miami. I think, the
East and the West, they should be on everyone's mind."
The Celtics plan to unseat the Heat, of course, but for now
Rivers is willing to give the defending champs their due.