Pierce: Talk was just competitiveness

Updated: March 4, 2010, 11:53 AM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson took issue with comments made by Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics during Wednesday night's 104-80 rout of Charlotte, saying he thought some "disrespectful" personal remarks were out of line.

Pierce and Jackson got into a dust-up early in the second half, which resulted in both being assessed a technical foul after they needed to be separated.

[+] EnlargeStephen Jackson
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaStephen Jackson (right) felt that some of Paul Pierce's comments on the court were out of line.

The incident unfolded after Ray Allen fouled Jackson going to the basket with 7:31 to play in the third quarter. Pierce disagreed with the call and, according to Pierce, voiced his opinion about it.

Evidently, he did it in a manner that set off the volatile Jackson, who exchanged heated words with Pierce before approaching him near the foul line as he waited to shoot free throws. Referees quickly got between the two players.

"I respect them as a team, they're a great team and they play hard, but when they get to a point where they get to disrespecting people, and it's not about basketball, that's where I have a problem," Jackson said after the game. "Everybody knows me as a basketball player, but everybody knows me off the court, too. So if it's about basketball, I'm cool, I respect everybody on their team, and I respect them as being a good team. But when it gets to the point where you're disrespecting [me] as a man, that's another problem."

While implying it was Pierce that set him off, Jackson did not name the Celtics' captain by name and did not elaborate on what was said.

"Certain things were said, quotes by certain people, and there's no need for me to drop names, they know what was said," Jackson said. "Me personally, I can take getting beat, if it's about basketball. But when it gets to the point where you're being personal, and being disrespectful as a man to another man, that's when I have a problem. The person I'm talking about, he knows it because I said what I had to say to him.

"It turned disrespectful when certain things were said. You can be emotional, talk to your teammates, and do all that, but when it's getting personal and you're directing certain things to people as far as their manhood, that's when a problem comes up. And I guarantee you, if I wasn't in this gym, that wouldn't have been said to me."

Pierce tried to downplay the situation after the game, attributing the comments made by both players to competitiveness.

"I don't know how it started," Pierce said. "No, I just thought that Ray was playing good [defense] on him. I didn't think it was a foul on him and I was just saying, 'Good D, Ray.' You know how Stephen is, he is a fiery guy. That is just how he is. He is a competitor. I love to watch him play. It was just both of our competitiveness coming out. It was nothing more than that."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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