The animosity has reached another level. Before the Nets grabbed a pivotal Game 1 win against the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto general manager upped the ante.
In a fan rally staged outside of the Air Canada Centre, Masai Ujiri voiced his distaste for his budding rival.
“F--- Brooklyn!” Ujiri shouted in a sequence captured and posted on Instagram.
While Ujiri apologized for his choice of language, he did not retract his feelings. These two teams do not like each other, and Raptors swingman Terrence Ross said during the season that he hoped to face the Nets in the playoffs.
“You know how I feel," Ujiri said. “Thanks guys. I apologize for not taking any questions, but you know how I feel. I don't like 'em.”
The Nets gave the Raptors everything they wanted in a 94-87 win. The Nets trailed by one with five minutes remaining in regulation, but Paul Pierce caught fire and finished the game with 15 points. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams tallied 24 points apiece in the win.
The venom illustrates the beauty of playoff basketball. After a month or so of what amounted to preseason basketball, the teams returned to a fierce style. Many that extended malaise affected the Nets’ shooting, as they managed just 4-for-24 shooting from beyond the arc.
Both teams reveled in Ujiri’s comments.
“I'm with him 100 percent. If he said f--- 'em, we all say f--- 'em,” forward Amir Johnson said.
Kevin Garnett, who finished with five points and eight rebounds, understood the thrust and parry of postseason play.
“It's all good,” Garnett said. "It's not our first time. I've been here before. I've read this book before. So it's nothing new. I love the Toronto fans. They're passionate. They love the Raptors and that's what’s up."
Head coach Jason Kidd was less diplomatic, saying he did not know about the Toronto general manager.
“I don't even know who that is,” Kidd said. “I could care less what they think about Brooklyn. We have a job to do, and that's to play the game of basketball."
The two teams return to action Tuesday night for Game 2. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.