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Attitude adjustment: Nets want to send a "message ... to the league"

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

When Paul Pierce got back to the Nets locker room Thursday after the big win over Miami, he was asked if the hard foul he committed on LeBron James was a "message" to the league's MVP --and longtime Eastern Conference rival.

"That’s going to be our identity," Pierce said stone-faced, according to Howard Beck. "That’s a message to the league."

Indeed, there's been a lot of attitude adjustment in the Nets locker room and on the court, and it's not by accident.

"We're trying to carve out our identity," Jason Terry told Ohm Youngmisuk. "And it starts with your leaders. Paul Pierce is one of our leaders and before the game it was like, look if we're going to be tough, we must defend our home.

"Regardless of who we're playing against, we're going to be physical," Terry continued. "We're not going to allow easy baskets. That was the tone that was set [Thursday] night."

The physical nature of the hard fouls was matched by Kevin Garnett telling James to mind his own business.

It's become contagious. "That's the type of fouls we have to have," Williams said of Pierce's foul. "It wasn't a dirty play. It was just a hard foul, and let him know we're here."