Earlier this week, Paul Pierce did an interview with ESPN.com and ripped a number of former and current NBA players. He took shots at everyone from LeBron JamesRay Allen, and Rajon Rondo to his Wizards teammates John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. But he saved some of his harshest criticisms for Nets players Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

"Before I got [to the Nets], I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate. But I felt once we got there, that's not what he wanted to do," Pierce said before labeling Johnson as "quiet" and admitting that his time in Brooklyn last season was "horrible." "If me and Kevin [Garnett] weren't there, that team would have folded up…We kept them going each and every day."

Last night, Williams and Johnson were asked to respond to what Pierce said about them after their win against the Magic. And both players took the high road and refused to send shots back in his direction.

"Being here, I got pretty thick skin," Williams said. "He has his opinions, and that's fine. It's what it is. I can't change his opinions. So just leave it at that."

"He's right about me," Johnson added. "He's right; he and KG were the leaders. They led us through the good and the bad. So I don't have nothing negative to say."

We can't help but wonder if their responses would have been different if the Nets had lost last night and missed out on the playoffs. But for now, neither player is willing to take shots at Pierce. It'll be interesting to see if anyone else who got caught in Pierce's crosshairs will respond.

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[via ESPN New York]