The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat don't like each other much. That alone makes for a pretty decent rivalry. Toss in a good amount of history in the playoffs (in LeBron's case that dates back to pre-Heat days) and you've got yourself a nice little rivalry. Adding a Ray Allen defection this offseason just added propane to the blaze and this 22 game win streak is the cherry bomb on top.
Still, there's obviously a healthy amount of respect from the Heat for the Celtics.
"If there's any group that would be motivated in a circumstance like this, it's that team in green," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I don't know if the streak will be a big factor, but they love playing against us, and vice versa. That's what happens when you meet a team consecutively in the playoffs. "There's a history there, and that's what makes these games special."
"They still got a championship coach and championship player on the court," LeBron James said. "We expect a challenge."
So what is the key for the Heat to beating the Celtics? Don't get rattled.
"You cannot let them rattle you, in a sense, by anything they are doing on the basketball floor," Dwyane Wade said. "We’ve been able to do that in the playoffs, we’ve been able to stay away from that. When you play them every now and again, sometimes you get into it a little bit, that’s why we haven’t had much success up in Boston. I think the best thing we’ve done in this win streak, is we haven’t gotten rattled, we’ve left everything where it’s at."
The Heat haven't beaten the Celtics in Boston in the regular season since LeBron and Bosh joined the Heat. Of course none of that matters too much because of the playoff success the Heat have had. So in that sense, this boils down to just another game.
But given the history and the rivalry, we all know it will be anything but just another game.