C’s expect hostile environment
|04.21.10 at 4:44 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Take a team that is playing for its playoff lives, add in a 29-point loss that their coach called “embarrassing,” sprinkle in some existing bad blood and the Celtics know that they will be walking into a frenzied arena Friday night for Game 3.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Doc Rivers said. “I told them that. Guys, at the end of the day all we’ve done is win two home games and Miami has yet to play a home game. That’s how they’re thinking for sure. Whether we won last by one, or whatever we won by, Game 3 is going to tough and we understand that.”
Kevin Garnett noted that when he traveled to Miami for the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 to watch Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace play with the Pistons that the crowd was a factor.
“Just anticipating it being very hostile,” Garnett said. “Watching Chauncey and Rasheed play them, how hostile and how crazy that town can get when they’re behind their team. It’s what we’re anticipating.”
The Celtics were a very good road team this past season. They were tied with Cleveland for the best road record in the Eastern Conference at 26-15 and were one game behind Dallas’ league-best mark. They beat Cleveland, Orlando, the Lakers, San Antonio and Dallas all on the road, but that was the regular season.
“It’s great to know that you can win on the road, but again, Miami could care less about our regular season the road,” Rivers said. “And we could care less about it. We have to come ready to play. The playoffs are a different beast.”
“Regular season is regular season,” Garnett added. “I never mix the two, to be honest.”
Instead the Celtics said they take their lessons from past playoff experiences and specifically from their seven-game series with Atlanta two seasons ago. “Playoff time is a totally different atmosphere,” Garnett said. “I can honestly say [the Atlanta series] was kind of a shell shock to our team so I never mix the two.”
Ray Allen also referenced the Hawks series, as well as the Game 6 clincher in Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals that year. “The most important thing is our focus,” Allen said. “We have to be really together. You get hit with a six or seven point run, you have to be able to run your stuff. There’s lessons to be learned in each round.”
Rajon Rondo, of course, was nonplussed when asked about the Hawks series. “That was a long time ago,” he said. “We have a totally different team this year.”
As if to prove the point that the regular season and the playoffs are two separate entities, the Heat also enjoyed success on the road this season, going 23-18, but that didn’t translate in the first two games.
Miami also struggled at home, finishing with an identical 24-17 record in its building as the Celtics did in the Garden. That flies in the face of the conventional NBA wisdom that Miami is a difficult place to play because of ts well-documented “distractions,” i.e. South Beach. Rivers and Garnett both shrugged at the suggestion.
Much more important is the notion that the Heat are a desperate team. Erik Spoelstra didn’t mince any words after Game 2 saying, “They just destroyed us. This was an embarrassing loss.”
Heat forward Michael Beasley said the Miami players were getting angry with themselves and Dwyane Wade noted that he can’t solve all the problems himself.
“They’ll give us their best effort,” Kendrick Perkins said. “We’ve got to be prepared for everything. When things get tougher we have to make sure we don’t put our heads down and just stay with each other. It’s going to be tough out there, it’s not going to be an easy. They’re going to come with it.”