The Miami Heat travel to Brooklyn tonight for the first time in franchise's history, and apparently Nets players are hoping to amp up the rivalry. Nets forward Reggie Evans is even going as far as to suggest that the Heat's 2012 title wasn't legitimate because of the lock-out shortened regular season.
Oh yeah. He went there.
Evans was asked by The New York Daily News whether beating the defending champs would be an important statement for the newly relocated team. Well, Evans apparently doesn't even consider the Heat the defending champs.
"It doesn't prove nothing. That was a lockout season," Evans replied.
Evans even said that LeBron doesn't necessarily need more defensive attention than some of his own teammates.
"Our team is defending the Miami Heat. If our team has to defend one person, LeBron isn't going to score nothing. LeBron is no different from Joe Johnson or Andray Blatche. No different," he said. "People need help (on defense). Some people don't need help. Everybody has to be double-teamed, it doesn't matter who you are. You just have to stop LeBron in transition."
Of course, word has already gotten back to LeBron.
According to Miami Herald reporter Joseph Goodman, when LeBron was asked about Evans' comments he merely asked, "Who?"
LeBron's reaction to Reggie Evans running his mouth: "Who?" "Reggie Evans.""Exactly."
-- Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) January 30, 2013
We should note, Evans' views on the legitimacy of the Heat's title isn't necessarily shared through out the Nets locker room.
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"They're the defending champions," says teammate Gerald Wallace in the same Daily News article. "They're the champions until somebody knocks them off. So that's our goal."
Though it's the first time the two teams will meet in Brooklyn, the Nets have traveled to Miami twice before this season and were trounced each time. Tonight will be the final meeting between the two teams.