As you grow older there are going to be times when you begin to experience pains that you just cannot get rid of. In the NBA they call those pains rivals, but I like to call them setbacks. And for the Miami Heat — particularly LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — the main setback is named Paul Pierce.
James admitted as much during an interview over the summer:
“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce… if I had to name just one guy.” (CBS Sports)
Four months later, he tried to clean up his thoughts by claiming that he has no head-to-head nemesis, but the truth is Pierce has been a thorn that neither he nor his teams can tweeze out.
It has been well documented that the old Boston Celtics are the reason the Big Three came together. However, even after they trumped that hurdle, they still seem to be flustered by the exploits of the 16-year vet — with or without Kevin Garnett.
The trash talking, the hard fouls and the ability to get under each other’s skin is still evident after 58 games between the Chosen One and the Truth. And it isn’t going anywhere with the Brooklyn Nets sporting an undefeated record against the Heat coupled with his ability to break Wade and James down in the clutch while getting to his old man sweet spots.
So tonight should be interesting given that a Miami win could lock them into a potential second round headache with the Brooklyn boys. That’s something I don’t doubt the Nets knew when they decided to rest Garnett for tonight’s matchup in exchange for a cameo in Orlando.