Not a banner moment
October, 29, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
oe Murphy/Getty ImagesThe Celtics will watch the Heat raise another championship banner on opening night.BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked that LeBron James is extracting revenge after four seasons. When Boston received its championship rings and sent Banner 17 to the rafters to open the 2008-09 season, it came before a meeting with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Tuesday, the Celtics will be the opponent when Miami does its ring/banner ceremony before the 2012-13 season tips off at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"I think this is LeBron’s payback, that he gets his ring in front of us," said Rivers. "It's amazing how things turn around."
So, Coach, will the Celtics stick around courtside to watch James and his teammates celebrate last year's accomplishments? Rivers said he's undecided, but his players don't seen overly anxious to catch a glimpse.
"I haven't thought about it, honestly; I haven’t seen the [pregame] timeline yet for us," said Rivers. "I’m sure [the league has] sent it to us, but I just haven’t looked. It's not something I really want to focus on."
Jeff Green, who missed all of last season while undergoing surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, isn't looking forward to a longer delay before his first regular-season game since May of 2011.
"We could care less if they get their rings," said Green. "We’re going in to play a game. We’re not going to sit there and watch. They celebrate, [then] we go play."
Rajon Rondo suggested he won't remain courtside for the ceremony. Would Rivers force his team to watch as a motivating tactic?
"If I have to use [the ring ceremony], then there’s something wrong with our guys," said Rivers. "I don’t think I need to use it as anything to fire our guys up. Listen, we gotta be fired up for 82 games, and not one."
Rivers did admit it's sometimes easier being on the other side of an emotional pregame ceremony like the one on Tuesday. He said it's hard for the celebrating team to keep their focus.
"When you’re on the other side, it’s a good thing," said Rivers. "You’re worried -- as a coach -- about distractions and can you play? We played extremely well the night we got our rings, we beat Cleveland [90-85] in front of LeBron. But, on the other hand, to us it’s just waiting longer to play, that’s all it is."
Rivers also stressed that opening night is just the first of 82 games this season.
"You want to win, and playing the best team in the NBA, it’d be a nice team to win against," said Rivers. "That’s the team we have to catch. If you win that game, then it’s nice, because you’re 1-0, but you don’t get a trophy, that’s for sure. You don’t get their trophy."