After the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Dwyane Wade thought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were out of his life for good. Instead, here come KG and Pierce again for yet another long Playoff war with the Heatles. Per the NY Daily News and Newsday:

“We thought when we played them in Boston we thought we buried them,” Wade said Monday. “Then we got Ray (Allen), Doc (Rivers) left and we were like, yeah, here they go.”

The two former Celtics are alive and well with the Brooklyn Nets ahead of their Eastern Conference semifinal clash with the two-time defending champs, which beings Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena. Only now, the roles have been reversed. When LeBron James made his decision to take his talents to South Beach, his, Wade’s and Chris Bosh’s goal was to knock the Celtics from their perch as the Eastern Conference powerhouse after James and Wade failed to do so with the Cavaliers and Heat, respectively.

The Big Three helped break apart the Celtics, but Garnett and Pierce aren’t extinct yet. Now in a new landing spot, they’re the ones trying to end Miami’s dominance. “That’s why it’s the perfect storm right now,” Wade said. “They had their reign on top. We was able to overcome. We’ve had our reign on top now and now they’re trying to overcome. They’re trying to get back to the championship. This is a kind of a battle, a match that you want to meet in the Eastern Conference finals when you talk about the bad blood. But there’s other bad blood out there, too. This is going to be a very challenging round. You wouldn’t want it any other way. You want to feel like you’ve earned it, towards your way trying to get to the finals. I think both teams would want this matchup.”

“The goal from the beginning when we came in here was to win a championship and we understand that in order to do that, you have to go through the best,” Pierce said. “And Miami being that team over the last couple years, we figured this was going to be a test for us.”

Pierce is used to this test. This series will mark the fifth time he’s faced James in a playoff series. When James was in Cleveland, Pierce got him twice, but since coming to Miami, he has KO’d Boston twice. “It should be very challenging,” James said.

Wade was effusive in his respect for the Nets and their two future Hall of Famers. James was much more matter of fact, although he looks forward to the individual matchup against Pierce. “I’ve always wanted to compete against the best in the postseason,” James said. “I’ve always looked at Paul as one of the better guys that we have in our league. He’s had the upper edge on me and I’ve had the upper edge on him. It’s another opportunity to see who gets the upper edge.”