Judging from all the tough talk coming from the Celtics, the Heat should start bracing for some hard knocks – lower case – of their own come Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers, after lamenting the “extreme comfort” in which his team allowed LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (54 combined points) to operate, opened Tuesday’s film session by showing a highlight reel of Heat layups and dunks.
Nineteen gimmes in all.
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“Who wants to watch that?” Rivers said with disgust. “That can’t happen in a CYO game, let alone a playoff game.”
The message was clear: No more uncontested shots at the rim for the Heat in these Eastern Conference finals.
Kevin Garnett talked menacingly about the need to take the Heat “out of their comfort zone.”
Never saw Greg Stiemsma, the Celtics’ 260-pound banger out of Wisconsin. Maybe he was locked in his hotel room watching a Quentin Tarantino movie marathon.
You know, to get in the right frame of mind.
Not that anyone should worry about the Heat’s ability to handle a brass-knuckles approach. Just last week they showed the Pacers how futile it can be to try to intimidate them.
Who’s going to push around a team that starts Ronny Turiaf and brings Udonis Haslem off the bench?
“We’re not going to let nobody just come in and punk us,” Dwyane Wade said.
It’s almost humorous how quickly the proud Celtics, wheezing their way toward the end of Boston’s Big Three era, started throwing around tough-guy cards.
Almost like they were trying to convince themselves they still have what it takes to hang with the Superfriends Minus One.
Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, beat on ‘em, right?
It started with Rajon Rondo’s matter-of-fact comment after the Celtics’ sluggish loss in the opener.
“Nothing dirty,” the Celtics’ point guard said, “but they have to hit the deck, too.”
Tuesday afternoon, Rondo was asked to clarify this apparent call to arms.
“Nothing crazy, nothing dirty,” he reiterated, “but when we drove, we hit the deck a lot.”