Kevin Garnett could still be fueled by LeBron James laughing in his face during the Eastern Conference Finals. Rajon Rondo could still be seething from a missed call during his 40-point game against the Heat that the Boston Celtics went on to lose.
Paul Pierce has battled LeBron so much there is a genuine dislike festering between the men while respect takes a bit of a backseat.
However, with Ray Allen being torn and subsequently indulging in the Miami way, the rivalry has been heightened immensely. The games will be fought that much harder due to what a lot of NBA fans view as betrayal on Allen’s end.
Miami-Boston isn’t the only rivalry in the league sparked by time and untimely free agency decisions. Where does the Celtics-Heat rivalry land in power rankings against every other team where Miami has left a bitter taste?
The media pumped up a battle for the ages that has never quite been lived up to by either end. Think about it.
When they face each other, LeBron and Kobe rarely face off. The photos may make it seem so. However, if you truly pay attention to a game the truth is consistently exposed.
Coach Erik Spoelstra usually matches Dwyane Wade up with Bryant, postion-to-position, or even Shane Battier on occasion. Rarely as a member of the Miami Heat has LeBron had the defensive assignment of Kobe and vice versa.
Ron Artest usually garners that gentlemanly duty.
In the upcoming seasons, expect things to shift. With James taking over a lot more aggressively than he has in previous years, he may demand Kobe’s cover and Bryant may demand his.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s newly scripted rivalry with the Miami Heat came about recently, just after everyone realized that Kevin Durant was gunning for the best player in the league title. LeBron James had just been labeled that, or was at least cruising towards a moment in which he’d prove himself worthy of the title.
Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder only solidified the coming of a new age NBA rivalry by losing the 2012 NBA finals in the worst way.
Well, maybe not the worst. A sweep would have been the worst.
With youth playing the assisting factor in both Miami’s and Oklahoma’s game plan, this cross-conference battle will rage on for seasons to come.
The MVP vs. the scoring champion in the finals?
Don’t think you have seen the last of it.
LeBron James’ jersey has been burned in Cleveland.
That tells anyone willing to pay attention how much disdain this franchise and its fans have for the Miami Heat, specifically because they obtained the services of LeBron.
The hometown-hero-turned-fraud is going to be a story for the Cleveland masses for seasons to come as Dan Gilbert tries to win his first ring before James wins his second. The primary promise failed completely as LeBron proved why his absence sent the Cavaliers spiraling into a black abyss.
This is a rivalry that is completely fueled by spite and revenge and will become more relevant as the Cavaliers become more relevant to the league and contention.
Making Kyrie Irving the fresh cornerstone of the franchise was step one and now Gilbert must continue to stack chips around him, adequately, before he ends up with another flight.
Cleveland vs. Miami is just around the corner from being one of the most exciting matchups in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers just have to catch up.
The Indiana Pacers just don’t like the Miami swing of things. Hasn’t that become painfully obvious?
With Roy Hibbert’s comments before the second-round series against the Heat and Danny Granger’s willingness to fight James if he breathed too hard on or off the court, it’s apparent how strong the dislike ranges between each locker room.
The problem with this rivalry is that the Pacers just haven’t masterminded a way to attack the Heat, at least not successfully. The Pacers took three steps forward and six steps back in the second round as they figured out how to expose a Chris Bosh-less Miami lineup and repeatedly ignored this lane of triumph.
At points it seemed like the Pacers knew they didn’t belong and a rivalry cannot be deemed relevant until each team has enough self-esteem to feel vital. Indiana may have traipsed into the 2012 NBA playoffs with a chip on their shoulder.
That chip was replaced with the truth that they were not on the same wavelength as the Miami Heat.
They were facing the best basketball player on the planet and the only man they could use to rattle him was an all-bark-no-bite trigger man who rarely used his speed and strength in the low post. That man’s name by the way was Danny Granger.
For the Pacers to return as a legitimate rival next season, they need to re-sign Roy Hibbert and strip Miami of their low-post power by evaluating and capitalizing off their own.
The most legitimate rival of all Miami’s foes has to be the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics have been this unrelenting threshold of dominance in the Eastern Conference for a while and the Miami Heat finally found a way to trump their experience. The Heat represent everything that the Celtics are against.
Often a one-man show, the Heat managed to beat the Celtics’ all-for-one approach. The Heat have a young, unmotivated coach while Boston boasts coach Doc Rivers as one of the greatest motivators in the game.
Have you checked out his “Wired” speeches throughout games? He even motivates viewers on the fence of whether or not to root for Boston.
The Celtics are a pillar of building success instead of instantaneous achievement even though the first year the “Big 3” was assembled they won a championship.
The Heat tossed together some superstars with some risqué role players and voila. There’s your championship, South Beach.
Each franchises' fans idolize two separate fundamentals and this is why the Celtics and the Heat have become one of the most intriguing rivalries in the league. They know each other’s game plan so well that it’s become second nature to adjust and mutilate it.
Ray Allen to the Miami Heat only elevates the tension between both groups as the most emotional Celtics’ player Rajon Rondo is labeled “he who drove Jesus Shuttlesworth” away.
Surely Boston doesn’t take kindly to the “betrayal” of a brotherhood, but there should be a look in the mirror before stones are cast.
How much did Danny Ainge value the brotherhood when he sent Kendrick Perkins away?