The friendly trash talk between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets started before the 2021-22 NBA season, even going as far back to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo last August.
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was on Gregg Popovich's Team USA staff, and two of the top players on the roster were C's forward Jayson Tatum and Nets forward Kevin Durant.
After the Olympic men's basketball medal ceremony, Durant, Tatum, Udoka and Team Australia guard Patty Mills (who signed with the Nets) had a hilarious exchange that was posted to Instagram.
You probably saw the video when it first surfaced, but it's worth watching again with the Celtics getting ready to host the Nets on Sunday for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Here's how it unfolded (Warning: the video below has NSFW language):
Kevin Durant: "There’s going to be problems for the Boston Celtics this year! I'm telling you."
Jayson Tatum: "(Expletive) outta here!"
Ime Udoka: "We know how to lock Patty (Mills') ass up."
The real question is whether the Celtics can lock up Durant and his superstar teammate Kyrie Irving. With all due respect to Mills, he's probably not going to decide the outcome of this series, although he could play an important role off the bench for Brooklyn.
The Celtics don't need to completely shut down Durant and Irving to win this series -- and that's an unrealistic goal, anyway -- they just have to make them work hard to earn their points offensively and also force them to expend plenty of energy on the defensive end of the floor.
Luckily for the Celtics, they can tap into Udoka's knowledge of the Nets. Udoka was a Nets assistant coach last season, so he knows many of the strengths and weaknesses of Brooklyn's players.