One of the best ways to motivate yourself going into the next season is hate, even though it can lead to the dark side. It’s no surprise that the Chicago Bulls don’t have a lot of love for the Miami Heat, most recently demonstrated by Jimmy Butler. A more recent budding rivalry with less grandiose implications is that between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, acknowledged by Draymond Green.
The hate for the Miami Heat begins with one name – LeBron James, and then trickles down to plenty of other levels. Dwyane Wade, general success, defense, the Bulls feeling like the referees are always against them. In a recent interview, which was more about his fashion style, Butler mentioned he will never wear a Miami Heat jersey. It’s safe to say this wasn’t a sentiment he had prior to becoming a Chicago Bulls player.
The best rivalry in the East? It has been for the last three years, with regular season games being the most intense across the NBA. Derrick Rose missing out on last season and the last two playoffs hurt everyone’s hopes of seeing him have another go at James and Wade, but there’s a good shot that as along as he remains healthy, the two teams are on some sort of collision course besides their four regular season games.
The one between the Warriors and the Rockets is a bit harder to comprehend. They did battle for the sixth-seventh playoff spot last season, but other than that, the Rockets aren’t a very physical team, which is usually an ingredient a good rivalry needs to have. It isn’t the Dwight Howard issue, because he wasn’t on the team last year. So what is it?
The three pointers. A 140-109 win by the Rockets over the Warriors in February, with Houston hitting 23 shots from beyond the arc. Mark Jackson wasn’t going to allow a record of three pointers to be broken on his head, on his team’s head. One of the positive things in Jackson’s reign in the Bay Area is turning the Warriors into a tough team. Some would say, like George Karl, that they’re a dirty team.
Draymond Green had a little bit of a moment with Patrick Beverley, as Jackson ordered his players to foul the Rockets so they don’t break the record at their expense. Green fouled Beverley hard in order to prevent him from taking the three pointer. Ever since then there’s been some bad blood. As Green put it: It is what it is now. They hate me. I dislike them. They’re out biggest rivals.