There are a lot of intriguing storylines when you talk about this Celts/Heat series. Just off the top of my head you have
- Jimmy Butler vs Marcus Smart
- Brad vs Spo
- Jae Crowder/Kelly Olynyk vs Boston
- Tyler Herro being picked right before the Celts (he was going to be their pick)
- Duncan Robinson being from New England and playing his favorite team
- Jayson Tatum's rise to superstardom
- Elite shooting vs elite perimeter defense
- Jae Crowder vs Gordon Hayward
the list goes on and on. Well in my opinion the best storyline/beef in this entire series is between Danny Ainge and Pat Riley. These two dudes HATE each other and it dates back years.
Here's a quick jog down memory lane for anyone who either may have forgotten about this or maybe didn't even know it existed in the first place
March 29, 2013, after the Heat had eliminated the Celtics in the playoffs the previous two seasons, is when acrimony surpassed acronyms. That is when Riley, as Heat president, spelled it out in all its expletive glory to Ainge, the Celtics' president.
"Danny Ainge needs to shut the f--- up and manage his own team,” Riley said that 2013 evening, in a comment that was forwarded in all its colorful candor to media about to cover the Heat’s game that night in New Orleans. "He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing, and I know that because I coached against him.”
The salvo was a rebuke to Ainge’s appearance on a Boston radio outlet, when he commented on a Heat loss the night before to the Chicago Bulls that snapped the Heat’s franchise-record 27-game winning streak, a loss in which James took umbrage to hard fouls from Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson.
What sparked this reaction from Riley?
"I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge said.
That’s when Riley bypassed a simple STFU and went for it.
Not that Ainge was going to allow Riley the final word. Not after Heat-Celtics turned toxic, with Allen having left the Celtics for the Heat in free ageny the previous offseason.
"I don’t care about Pat Riley,” Ainge replied. "He can say whatever he wants. I don’t want to mess up his Armani suits and all that hair goop. It would be way too expensive for me.”
I mean where's the lie? Are we suggesting that LeBron doesn't complain about officiating? Be more sensitive Pat Riley, jesus. Love the dig as his "hair goop" too. That's a burn that clearly cuts Pat Riley deep. The best part about this beef though is everything was on the record. How could you not love one GM telling another GM to "shut the fuck up"? That's amazing. Only Pat Riley could pull that off because he's a living legend.
You combine this beef with the battles these two teams had during the LeBron era, the fact that both went after Hayward hard in free agency, Miami giving the bag to Olynyk to get him away from Boston, to the Herro pick, it all adds up to one hell of a hyped up series. You KNOW that both Ainge and Riley want to dance on the other's grave on their way to the Finals. Here's to hoping that the quotes during this series end up being just as entertaining as the actual basketball. Something tells me we're in for a real treat.