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It became clear in Thursday night's NBA preseason matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett brought an attitude with them from Boston.
In the first quarter of the Nets' 86-82 win over the defending champs, Paul Pierce delivered a shot to LeBron James on a fast break, which he described as a "message to the league" about the Nets' change in identity this season.
Along with Pierce's body check, Kevin Garnett told James to mind his business, referring to the comment James made about Ray Allen's decision to go to Miami after the game, according to NY Daily News. James had previously said that Garnett and Pierce owed Ray Allen an apology for criticizing his decision.
“Tell LeBron worry about Miami; he has nothing to do with Celtic business,” said Garnett, with anger showing on his face. “Next question,” he said.
These two guys probably made Jason Kidd proud with their actions. When Kidd took over as head coach, he told his team that he wants them to be more physical and defensive-minded this season. He said that the identity of last year's Nets was "vanilla." According to ESPN, the Nets were sixth in points allowed last season with an average of 95.0, but were 23rd in allowing opponents to shoot 46.4 percent from the field.
"That's the type of fouls we have to have," Williams said about Pierce's foul on James. "It wasn't a dirty play. It was just a hard foul, and let him know we're here."
Pierce had this to say of the Nets' defense this preseason: "We've given up so few points. That's the message we want to send. Some nights our shots are not gonna fall, but we can control that (defensive) end of the court."