Playoff fever is heating up the NBA as the regular season winds down tonight. One of the Toronto Raptors’ most high profile nemeses, Paul Pierce is already throwing shade at the team he helped sink in the first round last year as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. It appears he is looking to do the same this season with the 5th place Washington Wizards. Pierce made the statement in an ESPN article yesterday.
“We haven’t done particularly well against Toronto, but I don’t feel they have the ‘It’ that makes you worried,” Pierce said. “There isn’t a team I look at in the Eastern Conference that makes me say, ‘They are intimidating, we don’t have a chance.’
The statement is a premature one as there is still a chance after all the dust settles tonight that the Raptors will draw the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and the Wizards getting a rematch of last year’s first round series vs the Chicago Bulls.
Pierce made the key (and devastating) last second block on Kyle Lowry that would propel the Nets past the Raptors in the seventh and deciding game. There is no doubt that a Wizards/Raptors series will be far more intense and have more cache than a Bucks/Raptors series. Pierce’s statement of confidence could add a significant amount of intrigue to an already compelling matchup should the standings remain as they are currently.
If this series were to happen, the hope for many Raptors fans is that they will use Pierce’s comments as a motivator to tighten up the screws defensively and up their edge as the real season lurks on the horizon.
Take it with a grain of salt, Pierce also said largely the same about the 1st place Atlanta Hawks, while also throwing former Nets teammates Joe Johnson and Deron Williams under the bus. Hey…it’s playoff time, and that’s just Paul Pierce being Paul Pierce.