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Ready to play the villain

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 21, 2010 03:28 PM

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If Quentin Richardson's a marked man in Boston, it's a safe bet Miami won't have a lot of love for Kevin Garnett come Friday night, but Doc Rivers didn't think that was such a bad thing. Having sat out the Celtics' Game 2 blowout last night, Rivers was already expecting Garnett to be in fire-breathing-dragon mode. But if being the heel at American Airlines Arena gives him extra motivation, so be it.

"I don’t know if he can get more fired up in a game," Rivers said. "That’s just who he is and we want him to stay that way. It’s important for him to play with that edge. And I think he’ll love being the villain because I think he enjoys that anyway on the road. Actually, I think most players enjoy that pretty much."

Garnett hasn't been winning popularity contests lately, with Joakim Noah the most vocal hater. But he's been Public Enemy No. 1 in a couple different arenas. Miami will be nothing new.

"I don’t expect any of us to get any cheers down there and I’m no different from that," Garnett said. "I’m not saying I’m the villain or the hero. I could care less. I’ve played on the road before. Hell I played in San Antonio and I know they hate me there for whatever reasons. So this should be no different."

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