The feud between Miami Heat forward LeBron James and former Boston Celtics players, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett has not simmered down heading into the season. With Garnett and Pierce trading their Celtic green for the black and white jerseys representing the Brooklyn Nets, they still carry the same hatred for the Miami Heat. James threw the first jab in the 2013-14 installment one day before the Nets and Heat preseason game on October 17.
Of course it didn’t take long for the new Nets to respond. Pierce and Garnett have spread their dislike of the world champions and they hope it will give the team an extra edge like it did in their exhibition contest.
James was not shy in displaying how he felt about Garnett’s comments about former Celtic Ray Allen jumping ship to the Miami Heat in 2012. In fact, he labeled them as hypocrites. The MVP was puzzled at how they could demean Allen’s decision to join forces in South Beach with three superstars in James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. On the other hand they changed scenery as well by taking their talents to the Big Apple to play in Brooklyn alongside three All-Stars in Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.
This rivalry goes back to the days when James was in Cleveland and Boston was the final opponent he saw in a Cavs uniform. With the Cavs ahead in the 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, they could not seal the deal as Boston won the series and made another NBA Finals appearance in the year before James left for Miami.
The Celtics have given the King fits throughout his career and it continued in Miami. Boston was ahead 3-2 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals after Pierce nailed a 3-pointer that dug a hole so deep that it appeared it was going to be tough for Miami to recover. That was before James brought his team back to life to save their season and capture his first NBA title in 2012.
The two newest Nets, Pierce and Garnett can prepare for a new rivalry now that they have left Boston and begin their newest journey. Brooklyn has some fire power and will be poised to dethrone the Heat. As evidenced from the 86-62 preseason loss to the Nets at Barclays Center, the Heat may have to approach this team differently.
Brooklyn is building a new identity and using veterans like Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry will give them championship pedigree and will help them bring more of a physical style of play. Pierce and some of his teammates decided to rough up James during the preseason game with some pushing and shoving. Though it didn’t seem to rattle the MVP, it did give the new Nets a sense of swagger leaving their home court.
Miami will continue to be business as usual and not worry about any team but their own as James silenced himself prior to Thursday’s game and disregarding shots fired by Garnett regarding Allen’s decision to bolt from Boston when he stated, “Tell LeBron worry about Miami; he has nothing to do with Celtic business.”
The feud will continue no matter what jerseys these players are wearing. The disdain for the Heat is widespread and is only going to infect the rest if the league after winning consecutive world titles. Any rivalries between the Heat’s Big Three and the former Celtics turned Nets should won’t have to wait too long as the two teams will meet again at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on November 1.
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