Even if it is mostly contrived, the East River Rivalry is developing into a fun little feud. Paul Pierce and J.R. Smith seem prepared to provide it with all the juice it needs, all on their own.
Pierce answered Smith with some passive-aggressiveness on Thursday when informed of Smith’s latest remarks on New York’s intra-city rivalry. The Knicks guard had called Pierce “a bitter person” after Pierce fired the first shot across the bow, when he said on a radio interview that “it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.”
When told of Smith’s comments on Thursday, Pierce was not interested in continuing the back-and-forth — at least, not with Smith.
“Who? Pierce said, according to ESPN.com. “Who?”
“Exactly,” Pierce continued. “Who? Who are we talking about right now? … We are talking about nothing.”
Pierce’s lack of consideration for Smith is somewhat understandable considering how Smith, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, finished out the Knicks’ playoff series against the Celtics last spring. Smith shot 14-for-39 in the final three games of the six-game series and was suspended for Game 4 after elbowing Jason Terry in the jaw.
The Knicks won that series before losing to the Pacers in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.