The Boston Celtics hold plenty of respect for the Miami Heat, maybe even to the point of being obsessed. The Celtics talk about their Eastern Conference rival every day. Doc Rivers ended open practice on Sunday by starting a “Beat the Heat” chant. When Courtney Lee and Jason Terry arrived at the team’s practice facilities in Waltham, they were surprised to see tape of last year’s disappointing Game 7 playing on loop. The Celtics know and respect Miami’s talent.
And the feeling is mutual.
Dwyane Wade said some very nice things about the Celtics, according to the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
“I expected that, when I heard (that we are the Celtics’ target) from Doc, I know Doc very well, as well it should be; our focus is on Boston,” Wade said. “But we do look at other teams. We’re not going to say we’re just looking at Boston. We understand this league is good. When you talk about focusing on the Eastern Conference, you focus on the champs in the Eastern Conference and that’s the Miami Heat. So that’s their message right there more so than them saying I’m not worried about no other team because you can’t beat us four times and lose to everybody else. You won’t make the playoffs.
“I understand what he was saying at that standpoint and we look forward to the challenge every year. Boston is always the team that’s going to make us point fingers (at each other) in the game sometimes. They mess with your mind a little bit. It’s a great challenge for us and by the time you get to the playoffs, we look forward it. You have to be aware and focused on everything that they’re doing because they can beat you any given night.”
“When you got great players, no matter how old they are, you’re a great player,” Wade said. “KG (Kevin Garnett) is playing phenomenal, like he’s found a fountain of youth. Why break it up? You do the San Antonio (plan), you just add players around the great players. San Antonio has been very successful and it seems like Tim Duncan has been in the league 38 years. Why change that? And Boston has kind of did the same thing. They felt they needed a facelift but they kept three of their core four to come back and still make another push at it. They’re just as good. It’s a different dynamic than having Ray but they got other guys that brings something different to the team that will be challenging.”
“They mess with your mind a little bit” and “make us point fingers (at each other) in the game sometimes” were the two standout quotes for me, but everything Wade said reveals a real respect for the Celtics.