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Opening night is still nearly two months away — but the Nets and Knicks budding rivalry continues to heat up.

Recently, new Net (still hurts to write that) Paul Pierce upped the ante a bit saying that it was "time for the Nets to run New York" following the mega-deal that sent Pierce, KG and Jason Terry from the Celtics to Brooklyn. Pierce also said that his dislike for the Knicks had grown to new levels since leaving Boston.

Clearly, Pierce was trying to get under the Knicks' skin.

And on Saturday, J.R. Smith took the bait. Smith fired back in an interview with ESPN New York, telling Pierce that his comments have been noticed.

"I just look at him as a bitter person just getting out of Boston. He doesn't really know what New York is all about. He's been playing in Boston his whole career," Smith told ESPN New York on Saturday.

Smith, speaking without anger in his voice, added: "He just knows, just know that his words have consequences and he's going to have to pay for them."

...

"They're in one borough, we're all over. So it's like, you're on an island and we've got the whole country. So it's nothing really to even talk about," Smith said at a PGA Foundation golf clinic at Chelsea Piers for the New York/New Jersey Boys & Girls Club.

This isn't the first member of the Knicks that Pierce's comments have irked. Earlier in August Knicks point guard Raymond Felton also came after Pierce's comments saying that the Nets "will never take over the city" and that Pierce was just talking to fuel the rivalry.

The thin skin wasn't just limited to Knicks players as even Spike Lee got into the act last week, saying Pierce was "talking crazy" about the Nets taking over New York. Then again, Spike never shuts up, so this really wasn't surprising.

While the Knicks have every right to fire back at Pierce, it's pretty hilarious to see how much Pierce's comments have bothered them. Clearly this is a team doubting their ability to replicate last season's regular season success.

Even though Pierce is now gone, it will forever be enjoyable to see him agitate the Knicks and their fans. He's made a career out of punishing the Knicks (career 23.4 PPG vs NY) and now as his grand finale he's going to try and take their city from them. Whether or not he and the Nets can pull it off, it's going to be pretty damn interesting to watch.

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13

Michael Dyer 9/01/2013 01:27:00 AM Edit
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