Monday , Feb , 09 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Classic gamesmanship: Why the Celtics’ Doc Rivers slighted the Lakers

Unlike last season, the tables might have turned. Foul or no foul on Ray Allen, the Lakers have momentum after Thursday’s overtime win against the Celtics and Sunday’s salary dump of Vladimir Radmanovic. Rivers’ comments were a reminder to Kobe and his supporting cast not to get overconfident …

Classic gamesmanship: Why the Celtics' Doc Rivers slighted the LakersYesterday, Doc Rivers went there. 

On Sunday, before Boston played San Antonio in a nationally televised game, ABC’s cameras caught the likable sideline boss warning his players that they could meet the Spurs in the NBA Finals.

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He could be right. The Celtics, as defending champions, hold the edge over LeBron James’ Cavaliers to win the Eastern Conference, while the Spurs’ defence and experience makes them a formidable playoff opponent.

This was no coincidence. There was another purpose. Rivers was likely slighting the Lakers.

Consider that Boston, Los Angeles, and most of the NBA have been anticipating a rematch of last season’s Final. That’s right. The green-and-white versus the purple-and-gold, part two.

Unlike last season, the tables might have turned. Foul or no foul on Ray Allen, the Lakers have momentum after Thursday’s overtime win against the Celtics and Sunday’s salary dump of Vladimir Radmanovic. Rivers’ comments were a reminder to Kobe and his supporting cast not to get overconfident.

All coaches use gamesmanship. Ironically, Rivers may have been taking a page out of Laker coach Phil Jackson’s book. Zen-Master Phil has made a career of winning NBA Titles, while simultaneously belittling and degrading opponents.

Some will say I’m overreacting. Perhaps. But the former point guard knew the cameras were on and he had to know his words would get a reaction. 

Yes, Rivers went there. It was probably intentional. Whatever his motivation, the NBA’s best rivalry just got better.

Gamesmanship or motivation? What do you think of Rivers comments? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Raps Fan.