NEW YORK -- Paul Pierce's comments have the whole city talking.
In case you missed it, Pierce, one of the Nets' newest star imports, recently told ESPN New York 98.7 FM, "I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city."
On Wednesday, die-hard Knicks fan Spike Lee fired back.
"Other teams are making a lot of noise with their big, major announcements with every move, like the Nets," Lee told ESPNNewYork.com during an event honoring Carmelo Anthony for his contributions to the New York City community. "The Knicks have been very quiet assembling their team, which I love. I love the fact that people are picking the Knicks fifth or lower in the East. It's great; let people think that. Paul Pierce is talking crazy."
Lee also knows there will be some unpleasantries when Pierce steps on the court with his new Nets teammate, Kevin Garnett.
During a spring game in 2011 at Madison Square Garden, Garnett, then on the Celtics, had some words for Lee that he'll always remember. In fact, Lee said they were worse than what longtime nemesis Reggie Miller once said to him during a game while they were trash-talking from the film director's courtside seat.
"Garnett needs to calm the [expletive] down," Lee told ESPNNewYork.com in October 2011. "There's no reason he should be cursing at me the way he did the last game. So you can put that in the article. It was disrespectful and I would never do nothing like that to him."
Lee said he and Garnett still don't talk to this day.
"Him? We don't speak," he said. "We're cordial when we see each other, but I'm not calling him up. I don't have his number to call him up, and he ain't calling me up either."
These days, Lee is producing an upcoming thriller movie. He also wrapped up his next flick, "Oldboy," starring Josh Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson. The topic of "old" came up with the Knicks, but Lee said the team is "younger now." He even thinks Metta World Peace has fresh legs.
"I love that move. He's not done; he's got a lot left," Lee said. "I love him on LeBron [James] at the end of the game. I love him on Paul Pierce or Joe Johnson at the end of the game. He can play five positions."
Lee said with the Eastern Conference upgrading -- "the beast of the East," he said -- he doesn't believe the Heat will three-peat because "it's hard to do" and they'll miss Mike Miller, who was released via the amnesty clause. Lee said the team to beat now is the Pacers, especially given Danny Granger's return and Roy Hibbert's performance in the 2013 playoffs, which reminded Lee of Knicks legend Patrick Ewing.
"We had no answer for Hibbert," Lee said. "That can't happen again. He cannot dominate. I don't know what needs to be done, who needs to be talked to, but that can't happen again -- can't happen. He's not Patrick Ewing. I know he went to Georgetown, but he's not Patrick. He was playing like it, though. He was playing like Patrick, [Hakeem] Olajuwon, Moses [Malone] combined. He was killing us."
Lee is hoping the Knicks can earn a berth in the Eastern Conference finals.
"We've got to get there -- got to," he said.
Lee made sure to also get that point across to Anthony, who was being honored by Hennessy for his philanthropic efforts in New York City.
"Everybody has your back, and you've got to get to the promised land, baby," he said to Melo, while speaking to those in attendance. "You've got to get there."
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