By A. Sherrod Blakely
MIAMI Eddie House has lots of love for his former Boston Celtics teammates.
It goes beyond simply being on the same roster.
They have the kind of bond that can never be broken, the kind forged with the blood, sweat and tears that come about through winning an NBA title.
But House plays for the Miami Heat now.
There's a time to be brothers, he says.
It ain't that time, people.
"We got plenty of time, the rest of our lives to be friends," House told CSNNE.com following Miami's practice on Friday. "But when we're out on that court . . . (expletive) 'em."
As talented as both teams are, there's no love lost between these two.
Boston eliminated the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs last year.
LeBron James, now with the Heat, played for Cleveland last season and he, too, was ousted by the Celtics.
It was the second time in the past three years that James' season ended at the hands of the Celtics.
Having one team continue to beat you in the games that matter most, repeatedly, certainly brings about some animosity.
That animosity, wrapped around both teams fighting for the right to move on in the playoffs, will make this one of the more closely-watched, contentious playoff series to date.
"They're gonna come out just how we are, guns blazing, throwing punches," House said. "We know they're not going to back down. I think they know we're not going to back down if that last game was an indication of it."
In their last regular season game, a 23-point Heat route, Boston's Jermaine O'Neal (he played for Miami last year) and James were separated by teammates for both after O'Neal delivered a hard foul on James that James didn't appreciate.
"That play was what it was," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said at the time. "I thought it was all theatrical, all that crap. That stuff . . . I guess that's called toughness these days. Two guys run into each other. I guess we gotta call that a flagrant foul, which I thought that was a joke. I thought the reaction by both was a joke. Don't even get me started on that crap."
Regardless, this series is expected to be a physical one between two teams that it seems all season, were on a crash course with one another to meet in the playoffs.
House said he came to Miami because he felt that he could help them win an NBA title.
But to to that, he said, a series with the Celtics was inevitable.
"To accomplish our goals, you're going to have to go through Boston at some point," House reasoned. "You're gonna have to see them. We haven't done anything yet, and they've done a whole lot of stuff. We know we gotta go through them to get where we're going."