The New Jersey Nets have worn down Boston Celtics stars Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce -- one of them mentally, the other physically.
Pierce already had limped off the court Friday night with a strained muscle in his right leg when Walker just snapped, going after a fan who had been heckling him for years. After things settled down -- thanks in part to Walker's mother -- Walker watched from the bench as a tear appeared in the corner of his eye.
"He's always got something to say," Walker said. "And I just got tired of it tonight. I was fed up with it."
Walker moved toward the fan before his teammates and security held him back. Other fans, some wearing Celtics shirts and coming from the section for friends and family of the players, then threatened the heckler as he was whisked away.
Celtics spokesman Bill Bonsiewicz said the team would revoke the fan's season tickets.
"This is a tough time. We're in the second round of the playoffs," Walker said. "Boston fans have been great to me. They've done a lot for me, supporting me throughout my career, and I was out of character for one guy. He just gets under my skin ... I really felt bad about that but [it was] in the heat of the game."
But it wasn't just the fan. Walker also was called for a technical foul for something he said to the referee in the third quarter as he was waiting for a jump ball.
It's been that kind of series for Walker, who has been blanketed by Kenyon Martin as the Nets took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"It just tells me he's a little upset," New Jersey coach Byron Scott said Saturday.
"It doesn't tell me Kenyon's in his head or anything. The guy [Walker] is giving it everything he's got."
Pierce twisted his right ankle in Game 2, then hurt the same leg in the second quarter on Friday night. He went to the locker room with 6:01 left and didn't return but walked without a limp afterward. Bonsiewicz said it wasn't expected to affect his availability for Game 4.