GMs taking Lakers, but Rivers picking Celtics to repeat

Updated: October 25, 2008, 2:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Why not us -- again?

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is picking his team to repeat as NBA champions and hoist their 18th championship banner, according to the Boston Herald.

[+] EnlargeDoc Rivers
Jarrett Baker/Getty ImagesDoc Rivers says the Celtics will have to be better than they were last year to repeat as NBA champions.
In a survey of the NBA's general managers conducted by NBA.com, 46 percent of those responding picked the Los Angeles Lakers to win the championship this season. Just 19 percent picked the Celtics to repeat.

But Rivers wasn't concerned about that, according to the report.

"Oh, I don't care one way or the other," Rivers said of the survey, according to the report. "We pick us. We picked us last year, too.

"The bottom line is we have to be a better team than we were last year to win it. We believe that," Rivers said, according to the Herald. "To us, that's a process that we're going to have to go through all year to improve as a basketball team. And I think I have a group of guys that are willing to do that."

The Celtics, who will unveil banner No. 17 and receive their championship rings on Tuesday night, know they'll be a target all season, Rivers said, according to the report.

"We understand it's going to be 82 games of being attacked every night. That'll probably in the long run be a good thing for us, but it's something that we're going to have to get used to," he said, according to the Herald.

But on Tuesday night, Boston will take a moment to celebrate last year's championship, in which the Celtics beat the Lakers in the finals.

"You play for all of it," Rivers said, according to the report. "You play for that night when you win it. You play for the parade. But I think the two things that are the most special are the banner going up and when you get the box and you can open it up and you have a ring. Because when you think about it, that's the only thing you get to take home. Everything else is hanging or stays in someone else's cabinet. So I think the ring is something that's going to be very, very special."