Paul Pierce’s Hard Preseason Foul On LeBron: Tough Or Annoying?

1. Paul Pierce is the NBA’s most entertaining provocateur.

Brian Babineau / NBA / Getty

A classic love-him-or-hate him player, no one riles up crowds, whether home or away, with more glee. The key to his success is that he’s actually good. A lot of mediocre or worse players try to raise their profile by jabbering and goading, but Pierce walks the walk in addition to talking the talk. Which makes him all the more agitating to opposing fans. You WILL lose to Paul Pierce’s team, and he’ll make sure you remember it.

2. And last night he was at it again, shoulder-checking LeBron on a fast break — in the preseason! — and afterward calling it an intentional “message to the league” about how the Nets are going to play defense.

YES / Via Ball Don’t Lie

3. On the one hand, it’s not a terrible basketball idea to stop LeBron before he shoots on the break, it wasn’t a dangerous play or cheap shot to the head, and it would’ve been lame to just get out of the way.

YES / Via Ball Don’t Lie

4. But on the other hand…on the other hand, you gotta protect the rim! NO EASY BUCKETS. WHAT UP, BROOKLYN!

YES / Via Ball Don’t Lie

5. Our verdict: if LeBron’s gonna come inside he’s gonna have to bring it strong (note: LeBron is very capable of bringing it strong), Brooklyn is going to be ON THE MAP this year, and Paul Pierce is our dude. Let’s go Nets!

Nathaniel S. Butler / NBA / Getty

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