Al Iannazzone of Newsday relayed Pierce's latest salvo via Twitter:
When Paul Pierce was asked about J.R. Smith calling him "bitter," Pierce said, "who? Who? Who?"— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) September 19, 2013
For anyone unfamiliar with the ongoing pseudo-feud, Pierce's comments stemmed from Smith's recent assertion that Pierce was "bitter" in early September.
Considering there's no legitimate reason for the two to be bickering in the first place, this situation is already confusing. So let's backtrack with a brief history of the story that just won't go away.
Apparently, the comment was all part of a curious media blitz in which Pierce was trying to drum up as much rivalry talk as possible.
He also told Angel Diaz of Complex Magazine of his hatred for the Knicks: "Let's start it up right now. Let's start the beef. It's no secret that me and New York got history. It's no secret. This is no secret. It's already known."
Pierce was then asked if he thought the Nets could start to "steal the city."
He replied: "Oh yeah. Right now it might be like 70-30 but we're gonna push that the other way."
Shockingly, the always unfiltered Smith felt the need to respond to Pierce's prodding. He told Marc Berman of the New York Post.
They have a great chance to compete for a title. But we’re still the marquee team in New York. A lot of people are counting us out just like last year. We have a lot to prove. We’ll come out with a lot of edge and hopefully put it to positive use on the court.
Not content to stop there, Smith made a championship guarantee and claimed the Nets weren't good, according to Marc Raimondi of the New York Post.
Then came the "bitter" bomb:
Asked about Paul Pierce's comments that the Nets will take over NY, J.R. Smith says Pierce is "a bitter person just getting out of Boston."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) August 31, 2013
And now we're back where we started, with Pierce acting as if he were unfamiliar with the guy he's been sparring with for over a month.
It'd be nice to believe that Smith won't offer up another sound bite, but there's no way the New York media will let him get away with that.
At this rate, Pierce and Smith aren't going to have any trash-talk material left over for when they actually meet on the court.
I guess they'll have to let their play do the talking for a change.