Doc Rivers Sees Miami Superteam As Exciting Challenge for Celtics


Doc Rivers Sees Miami Superteam As Exciting Challenge for Celtics We're less than three months away from the opening tip of the 2010-11 NBA season, and everyone is already up in arms about the superteam assembled by Pat Riley and his hired mercenaries in Miami.

Everyone, that is, except their opponents on opening night.

No one in Boston seems particularly outraged about the assembly of three of basketball's biggest superstars in South Beach. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh will all be wearing Heat uniforms when they take the floor Oct. 26, and no one in Celtic green is offended. Least of all their coach, Doc Rivers.

Back home in central Florida earlier this week, Doc took a minute to talk to the local paper about the Heat's offseason rebuilding project, and he seemed perfectly at peace with the possibility of the Heat taking over the NBA world.

"If you were a businessman who could buy two other companies to form what would be a dominant company, what businessman wouldn't do that?" Doc asked George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel. "That's what LeBron did. I have no problem with that. It just makes it more challenging for us, the Magic and everybody else."

LeBron has long been seen as one of the great businessmen of the sports world. Aside from winning MVPs and scoring titles, the 25-year-old star cares about cultivating an image, building an empire and becoming a global icon. Now that he's in Miami, he's got a greater chance than ever before to do just that.

King James has a chance to be the best player on the best team in the NBA for the next six years. He wanted the spotlight, and now he's got it. It's hard to fault him for that. Doc sure isn't.

But one thing the Celtics' coach will say is that in this position, LeBron and the Heat will face harsher scrutiny than ever before. The pressure is on them to come through and deliver titles to Miami.

"It puts a bull's-eye on them," Rivers said. "Well, everybody wants to beat the Celtics, too. You want the pressure. You don't want to run from it."

If there's anyone who knows firsthand about the challenges LeBron and the Heat will face, it's Rivers' Celtics. They faced similarly harsh criticism three summers ago when Danny Ainge made blockbuster trades in the offseason to land Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and they had to deal with the emotional grind of being the most hated team in the league.

But ultimately, it's not about emotion. It's about getting the job done.

"At the end of the day," Rivers said, "you're going to have to perform. Miami is going to have to perform. Orlando is going to have to perform. We're going to have to perform. Somebody has to perform better than someone else. It doesn't matter who you have on the floor."

What we have on our hands now is a healthy rivalry. The Celtics and Heat will do battle at the TD Garden on opening night, and both will be ready for the challenge ahead. They respect each other, but they no doubt want to beat each other too.

It's a natural rivalry. The Celtics raised a banner in 2008 by assembling a Big Three, building around it and winning right away. The Heat are looking to do the same.

The Celtics would love a shot at one more championship. The Heat have visions of winning five.

When all's said and done, one of these two teams will rise to the challenge and emerge as the class of the Eastern Conference. In a couple of months, we'll begin to find out who.

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