For all the respect LeBron James' prodigious talent commands Kevin Garnett has long disdained the planet's best player. Part of it has been the cutthroat competition in the Eastern Conference part of it James' precarious progression to maturity part of it simply a belief that LeBron's full of it.

"Tell LeBron to worry about Miami" Garnett grumbled late Thursday. "He has nothing to do with Celtic business."

Garnett punctuated his words with a pound of the podium and snarl burning straight to South Beach. In his rush to defend Ray Allen James blasted Garnett and Paul Pierce with flawed and forced logic. James called them out as hypocrites for such a harsh response to Allen's free agent fleeing to Miami only to make the move themselves a year later.

Of course James' assault made little sense considering the Celtics traded Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics pushed Garnett to waive his no-trade clause insisting they no longer wanted him as part of a rebuild. As a free agent Allen turned down $12 million from the Celtics to take $6.5 million from the Heat.
Allen had his reasons and they're well-documented. In the end Doc Rivers could no longer get Garnett and Pierce to recruit Allen to stay sources told Yahoo. Neither player would call Allen and only Pierce could be counted upon to even text him. The partnership had run its course and Allen made the right if unpopular decision for himself.

Nevertheless two championships have emboldened James to take his shots – perhaps because he's tired of absorbing them for years. When asked about James' criticisms on Thursday night Pierce said "I left Boston?" It was his way of simply saying: What the hell's LeBron talking about?

At 36 Pierce understands words don't carry the clout of deeds. This is why he delivered a shoulder block to James on a breakaway in the first quarter of Thursday's 86-62 victory over Miami. Garnett landed a soft blow upside James' head too. For October this wasn't bad theater. "That's going to be our identity" Pierce said. "That's a message to the league."

For everything the Pierce and Garnett deal represented about the Nets championship aspirations it wasn't until the bargain-basement signing for an A-list free agent Andrei Kirilenko that some within the Heat organization truly considered the Nets a major problem.