Celtics

Celtics

LeBron James was at the height of his game in the spring of 2012.

He had just won the NBA's Most Valuable Player award and helped the Miami Heat coast to the Eastern Conference Finals during his second season alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

But the Boston Celtics weren't about to put James on pedestal -- because they felt they already had the upper hand on him.

During an appearance alongside Adam Sandler on The Ringer's "The Bill Simmons Podcast," ex-Celtics forward Kevin Garnett explained how his team really felt about James during that Boston-Miami series in 2012.

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"Let me say something to you: The C's, we didn't give a f--- about LeBron," Garnett told Simmons. "We didn't fear LeBron, and we didn't think that he could beat all five of us. And that's how it felt.

"He was trying to consolidate because he didn't want the pressure on him. You understand?"

About that last point: James famously left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2010 to join Bosh and Wade in Miami, and Garnett believes his Celtics played a big role in "The Decision" by eliminating LeBron's Cavs in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals.

When Simmons mentioned that the Celtics felt like they could "break" James after beating the Heat in Game 5 of the 2012 East Finals, Garnett snapped back with this:

"We broke LeBron. So, get your ass out of here with that. You understand how he got to Cleveland, how he got to Miami, Bill? You remember that? So stop bringing that up, all right?"

 

KG's insinuation, in case it wasn't clear enough: The Celtics forced LeBron out of Cleveland.

James earned redemption in 2012, as Miami eliminated Boston thanks to his combined 76 points in Games 6 and 7 of the East Finals.

But Garnett didn't believe he and his teammates motivated LeBron by talking trash to him during the series. Instead, he placed that blame on the media.

"So they was talking s--- to him, the media," Garnett said. "And the league knew that they had an agenda in which we wasn't part of the agenda. You understand? Right.

"And that's how they ended up winning that series. Yeah, I said it."

That 2012 loss still haunts KG, who admitted he and his former Celtics teammates keeps their distance with James, Wade and the 2012 Heat to this day.

"It's real. They don't f--- with us, we don't f--- with them," Garnett said.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Kyle Draper, Brian Scalabrine and Kendrick Perkins have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.