Paul Pierce takes another swipe at LeBron James by saying Heat 'underachieved'Sporting News — (Tom Gatto)
Paul Pierce found another way to knock LeBron James. He wasn't original, but at least the take sounded more legit than his top-five flip-flop earlier in the week.
This time, the burn was for James winning just two NBA championships with the Miami "Heatles" of himself, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh from 2011-14. Pierce claimed they left one ring on the table and were fortunate to win their second title.
"(James) played on the Miami Heat, who, in my eyes, underachieved," he said on ESPN's "NBA Countdown," "and were a Ray Allen shot away (in 2013) from only winning one championship. We ain't talking about that. How about that?"
Pierce wasn't convincing fellow panelists Jay Williams, Jalen Rose, Maria Taylor and Kendrick Perkins when he said the Heat "skated with two out of four" after they were expected to "run the table."
James went to The Finals all four of his seasons with the Heat, winning the middle two between losses to the Mavericks (that's probably the lost third ring; Miami led that series 2-1) and Spurs.
"The Truth" isn't on Skip Bayless' level with his volume of LeBron hot-takery, but he does have real motive because of his personal beef with James. He went 0-3 in the playoffs vs. Miami during the LBJ years (2011 and 2012 with the Celtics; 2014 with the Nets), and on Thursday he admitted spitting toward James during a 2004 exhibition game in Columbus, Ohio, in James' second season, confirming a story Perkins told.
"Me and LeBron are going back and forth, the bench is yelling at something. I look over to the bench and I'm like, 'That's why y'all are on the bench' or something and I spit at them. And I'm not sure if I hit somebody or not but I spit in that direction," he said. Pierce and Perkins said the teams almost fought outside their locker rooms after the game.
That incident (which The Associated Press reported at the time) supposedly is at the root of all this. Maybe. To these eyes, Pierce appeared sheepish instead of resolute in discussing the incident.
That leaves the possibility Pierce has trolled himself into a box and is content to stay inside it.