Phil Jackson: Celts above Heat in East

Updated: January 20, 2011, 3:53 PM ET
ESPNLosAngeles.com

If the Los Angeles Lakers made it to the NBA Finals, coach Phil Jackson wouldn't necessarily expect to see the Miami Heat there with them.

He told Max Kellerman on 710 ESPN that he respected the individual talents of Heat superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but he didn't think Miami could overtake the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

"I personally don't think they can get by Boston," Jackson said. "I think Boston is too good a team. I think a team is still going to win.

"But there's a chance that [the Heat] ... can maybe round themselves into a team by that time and [win].

"Boston is older and they have to go through the rest of the schedule without having some kind of breakdown of players. [Ray] Allen and [Kendrick] Perkins, etc., they are just really a good team.

"But there's nothing like the great athletic skill and dynamism that [James and Wade] have and [Chris] Bosh is a terrific player in his own right. There's no doubt about their individual skills."

Jackson also talked about his use of the media to get his message across to his players.

"There is the idea that you can encourage the team through public statements ... I do sometimes say the most honest thing to reporters," Jackson said. "I'll be very blunt and make a statement that's as true as I can make it. But there's always a little encouragement for the team to do better and to improve at a certain level.

"I think the press is there for your services as a coach. I think that's a message you can use to get across."

Talking before Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons, Celtics coach Doc Rivers had just dismissed a question about Orlando general manager Otis Smith calling the Celtics "fake tough" by suggesting that he'd "let everybody else talk about us; they seem to do it better than us."

Apprised of Jackson's comments, he smiled and said, "Well, in that case, Phil is a genius. And I hope he's right. But there's a lot of games to be played and we'll see how that all works out."

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg contributed to this report.