Wizards forward Paul Pierce dissed Toronto even before it was determined that the Raptors would be Washington’s first-round playoff foe.
“We haven’t done particularly well against Toronto, but I don’t feel they have the ‘It’ that makes you worried,” Pierce told Jackie MacMullan in a revealing ESPN.com article published earlier this week. “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 Raptors swept the regular season series against the Wizards (3-0), but Pierce beat Toronto as a member of the Brooklyn Nets in a seven-game, first-round playoff series last year. Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri was asked about Pierce’s comments on Thursday.
“I honestly don’t have enough money to respond to him, but I think if I did have enough money, everybody knows exactly how I would respond to him and how the whole of Toronto would respond to it,” Ujiri said.
And how would that be? Oh, right.
Last season, Ujiri was fined $25,000 by the league for shouting “F— Brooklyn” at a pep rally before the Raptors’ playoff home opener against Pierce and the Nets.
The fear of being fined isn’t the only thing preventing Ujiri from telling Pierce how he really feels, though.
“F— Washington, am I right?” one of the hosts of Sportsnet’s “Free Association” podcast asked Ujiri toward the end of an interview on Tuesday.
The GM laughed.
“I tell you, I can’t go that far because of my guy Barack Obama,” Ujiri joked. “He might come get me, man. He might come whisk me away, so I’m not with you on that one.”
Meanwhile, Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Coach Dwane Casey weren’t amused by Pierce’s confidence.
“Paul Pierce has always gotta say something,” DeRozan said. “He said something last year [too], he’s always got to say something. Just let him talk. I could care less what he says.”
“He’d just better hope Chicago [loses] or whatever’s got to happen so he won’t see what ‘It’ is,” Raptors coach Casey said before the first-round matchups were finalized on Wednesday.
Guess we’ll all find out what ‘It’ is or isn’t starting Saturday.
Thanks to CBS Sports for sharing.