Manny Pacquiao already had plans for Saturday night and the Celtics screwed them up.
One of boxing’s biggest draws is set to fight Timothy Bradley at the MGM in Las Vegas on Saturday night, defending his WBO welterweight championship. About 16,000 in house in Vegas, countless more at home watching PPV.
And like a lot of other Celtics fans, Pacquiao suddenly had a conflict when the Heat rolled the Celtics Thursday night in Game 6 to set up a Game 7 Saturday night in Miami.
Fight promoter Bob Arum stepped in to bail Pacquiao out — the main event in Vegas will not start until after the final buzzer sounds in Miami, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.
“Now Manny, the Heat, the Celtics and sports fans watching the basketball game won’t have to make a choice between events,” said Arum, who added that the undercard fights would begin at 9 p.m. “They will be able to watch both.”
Doc Rivers, what do you think of that?
“He’s a Celtics fan. What do you expect?” Rivers said. “Pretty cool, though. That’s cool.”
If the Celtics are going to win Game 7, it’s going to have to be a more physical contest than the one Pacquiao is in.
And if Pacquiao loses, he can just blame LeBron James. Whatever the outcome of the game. Everyone is going to be blaming him for something anyway.
Doc Rivers made his point with luggage.
After the Miami Heat rolled Boston in Game 6 Thursday, Rivers went into the locker room and told his Celtics not to back for the trip to Miami, but to add clothes so they could head straight to Oklahoma City for the start of the NBA finals Tuesday.
“We’re all packed,” Rivers said in a conference call Friday. “Guys have a lot of luggage and we’re hoping we can use it.”
Luggage has been used as motivation before — in 2006 when Pat Riley took over the Heat and took them to the NBA finals, the Heat to go back to Dallas for Game 6 and Riley said after the game he only packed one change of clothes.
For a veteran team like the Celtics this is just a little reminder what is at stake if they win. But winning will not be about luggage, it will be about generating some offense and hoping LeBron James doesn’t have another superhuman night.
Coaches like to learn from each other. Not only within their own sport but also from great coaches in other sports — during the lockout the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra spent time with Chip Kelly, the Oregon football coach, trying to learn about space and attacking.
Spoelstra also once sought advice from Doc Rivers.
Spoelstra attended a coaching clinic where Rivers was one of the speakers. A. Sherrod Blakely talked to both men about it for CSNNE.com.
“While he’s highly regarded in his schematics and X’s and Os, I was more curious about the management of personalities,” Spoelstra said. “That’s really ultimately what it’s about in this league….”
Rivers recalls looking out in the audience and seeing Spoelstra.
“You’re talking to 200 coaches and you see Erik there, you’re like, ‘I’m not going to say this … ATO (after-timeout) stuff, I’m not sharing that,” quipped Rivers.
At the NBA level, management of egos and personalities is a lot of the job. Your role players were the best player on their high school and college teams, now you’re asking them to come off the bench 20 minutes a night and fill a role. You’re getting guys to buy into a system.
Rivers has done that as well as any coach going. Spoelstra… it’s a work in progress.