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Paul Pierce asked for the LeBron James defensive assignment for Game 4

May 12, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

There are a couple questions about whether the Brooklyn Nets can replicate what got them a Game 3 win over Miami. First off, can they hit 15-of-25 from three again?

Second, can they keep LeBron James and the Heat out of the paint again?

In Game 1 of this series the Heat had 29 shots at the rim (in the restricted area), in Game 3 just 13. After a hot first quarter in Game 3 LeBron got just one shot at the rim the rest of the game. (For more detail on this, check out John Schuhmann’s work at NBA.com.)

Paul Pierce thinks he is just the guy to do it — he wants the LeBron assignment in Game 4, he told ESPN. He’s had it more in recent games and done a solid job at points.

“I went to J-Kidd [for] Game 2 and said I want that assignment. … I think I’ve guarded him more than anybody in this gym. I know his tendencies a little bit more and I just try to step up in that role and try to lead that way….

“You know you’ve got to have that type of mental [approach] when you’re going against a juggernaut,” Pierce explained about establishing a no-fear mental edge following Nets’ practice. “When you go against the best … a lot of series are won on fear factor, or the non-belief. When you have that non-belief, then you have no chance. What I try to do in this locker room and with my teammates is just try give them belief — that we can beat this team. They’re not unbeatable. You’ve got to have that mental [approach] if you’re trying to get over that mountain that you’re trying to climb.”

Pierce is right, even if he said it in an overly dramatic way — you can’t play in awe of the other team. The Nets do not play with fear.

That’s different from keeping a motivated LeBron and Dwyane Wade from getting to the rim. And in Game 4, after a loss, you can expect them to show up motivated. In the first quarter against an attacking LeBron in Game 3 Pierce was left to make a flagrant foul (and even then LeBron scored).

Watch early and see if Miami is getting to the basket or settling for jump shots. If they are making plays at the rim — and LeBron is still the best finisher at the rim in the game — it’s going to be a long night for Brooklyn.

  1. miamiheatles - May 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Bring it on Brooklyn. It’s well documented that we will go to battle with any team. Physical, finesse, halfcourt, pace and space, ground and pound.

    • thekingdave - May 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Wow. A team comprised of LBJ, Wade, Bosh, and a bunch of solid vets who left money on the table to sign with the Heat is willing to go to battle with any team, regardless of style of play. This runs in contrast apparently to other NBA teams who will refuse to play if opposing styles don’t overlap appropriately.

      • zoomy123 - May 12, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        Wow, way to be overly analytical. The implication isn’t just that Miami would play against any style…but win, as evidenced by the last 3 years.

    • kenyante - May 12, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      Who is “we”?

  2. reesesteel23 - May 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    He’ll have 2 fouls in the first 5 minutes. Too slow.

    • kb2408 - May 12, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      Slow, but clever. Like Paul said, he’s played against LBJ for years, he’s seen everything he can do.

      • zoomy123 - May 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        If you were trying to guard Lebron James, would you want to be as big as he is, as fast as he is and as strong as he is, OR would you merely rather be more clever than him? Hmmm…decisions, decisions.

      • zoomy123 - May 12, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        I do believe Paul Pierce is sitting on the bench after 5 minutes with two fouls, lol. Granted, one of those fouls was probably a bad call but still.

    • pharohislife - May 12, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      Did he in the last 2 games?

      • reesesteel23 - May 12, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Don’t know. I’m speaking on Game 4.

      • pharohislife - May 12, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        Well considering he hasn’t in the past 2, don’t count on it this game.

      • reesesteel23 - May 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        Enlighten us. How often did he guard James in those games, particularly in the first 5 minutes?

      • reesesteel23 - May 12, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        Lol shout out to pharohislife..I should have said 7 minutes

      • pharohislife - May 13, 2014 at 1:04 AM

        Too bad you didn’t ya sweetheart, and was the 2nd foul due to being too slow or was it a foul that was called while fighting for rebound position. Don’t gotta be fast for that, so no matter how you put it you were simply wrong, sorry bud.

    • thebrazilianmamba - May 12, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      C’mon Pierce, you can’t hang with the King, you are passed your prime! You were never that fast guy to begin with.

  3. duhwighthoward - May 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Great picture!

    • sportsfan18 - May 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      yep, he’s using all that knowledge of his on how to contain LBJ in that pic there…

  4. bknowledge - May 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    I’d like to see Kirilenko on Wade. Kirilenko is 6’9″; Wade is 6″4″. Kirilenko usually covers Lebron, but I think his height could really bother Wade.

    Teletovic has done an awesome defensive job on Lebron. Teletovic is strong. He isn’t thrown back when Lebron lowers his shoulder and dribbles into him.

    I don’t mind so much Lebron being able to push off with his off arm when he’s dribbling, but they should call that on Chalmers.

    • fm31970 - May 12, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      AK is too slow to guard Wade, even with Wade’s bad knees. Wade would just head fake, out the ball on the floor and get into the paint. After that, it’s lay-ups for his teammates.

      I have my doubts Pierce can keep James down for the rest of the series, too. LeBron will find a way to be a factor, even if that means he sacrifices his own stats for the win. This is not the 2007 LeBron anymore.

      • pharohislife - May 12, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        What about the 2010 Lebron

    • southbeachtalent - May 12, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      AK47 would get smoked.

  5. jammer73 - May 12, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    RETIRE. Tell KG too as well. WASHED UP!

  6. jzone954 - May 12, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    I mean I have a lot of respect for Paul and hey if that’s what you want , you got it. Why wouldn’t you want to guard the very best in the game?

  7. antistratfordian - May 12, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    “Be careful what you wish for in this world, for if you wish hard enough you are sure to get it. I once heard a very wise many say this, and the longer I live the more firmly I believe it to be true.”

    -Sarah Orne Jewett, The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 67. 1891

  8. bballhistorian - May 12, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Lol!!

  9. Great Caesar's Ghost - May 12, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    You just can’t beat teams like LAL, Boston and Chicago when it comes to dynasties.

  10. jzone954 - May 12, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    49 pts later…..

  11. soopreme - May 13, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    AHHHHHHH!! Get him off me coach!!

  12. ozarkannie74 - May 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Well he got what he wished for – not sure he actually guarded LeBron but he did manage to get a few nasty punches, pushes, shoves and hits on him. Guess he thinks he can punish him if he can’t beat him? This isn’t LeBron’s first rodeo, he can play through everything that’s been thrown at him so far, Paul Pierce is an egotistical jerk!!

  13. mcsuave - May 14, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Pierce asked for it and got served up on a platter for the King.

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