Paul Pierce wanted to let LeBron James, and the rest of the league, know that nothing is going to come easy for opponents in Brooklyn this season.
During the first quarter of Nets preseason game against the Heat, James recovered a loose ball and quickly got out in transition. Standing just inside the three-point line with James charging toward him, Pierce stood his ground and threw his right shoulder into the 250-pound four-time NBA MVP. A foul was called as James jerked his head back after the contact from Pierce.
“That’s going to be our identity. That’s a message to the league," Pierce said after Brooklyn's 86-62 preseason win, via Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. "We want to be a hard, grind-it-out team. We want nothing to be easy. That’s what we’re trying to show in the last couple of games, the way our defense has been playing. We’ve given up so few points. That’s the message we want to send."
James has battled Pierce and Garnett many times while they were members of the Boston Celtics. Despite the change to the color of Garnett's and Pierce's uniforms, the rivalry seems undiminished. Before the game, James criticized the pair for "leaving" Boston a year after criticizing Ray Allen for doing the same thing.
"Tell LeBron to worry about Miami," Garnett responded on Thursday.
The Nets and Heat will meet again at the Barclays Center on November 1 for the first of four regular-season games.