When LeBron James is barreling in the lane at full speed, there is not much that can stop him. Paul Pierce thought otherwise. During the Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat preseason game this past Thursday night, Pierce’s contact on James in both the first and third quarter was meant to send a message. Just because both Pierce and Kevin Garnett have switched teams, doesn’t mean the hate for the Heat has changed. “That’s going to be our identity,” Pierce said sternly. “That’s a message to the league.”
The Nets acquisition of both Pierce and Garnett in the offseason has given the franchise a new sense of defensive identity and tenacity. The Nets now join a list of contenders in the East looking to knock out the defending champs in the postseason.
Although this was a preseason game, it had the feel of a heated playoff bout. Over the last three seasons, the Heat have steamrolled the Nets, but after this game, it would seem that times are changing. Even with both teams have key players sitting out, it was still as competitive a game as the preseason can offer. Although the Nets won the first preseason matchup against the Heat, 86-62, this was only a small sample size of what is to come between these two teams. James will most likely sit out for the final preseason game against the Nets, but expect the full lineup for the Heat in the Nets home opener on November 2. Rivalries are make the league go round, and this is just another one for the Heat to relish in.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
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