Paul Pierce absolutely took over down the stretch for the Nets, scoring nine points over four consecutive possessions in the game's final three minutes to help deliver a 94-87 road victory over the Raptors in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series.
After sinking the fourth shot, a mid-range jumper over Patrick Patterson that gave Brooklyn a nine-point lead with less than one minute to play, Pierce stared down the Air Canada Centre crowd and thumped his chest on the way to the huddle.
"That's why they got me here," a mic'd up Paul could be heard saying. "That's why I'm in here. That's what I do. Best in the business. That's what I do."
The 36-year-old Pierce was acquired along with Kevin Garnett by the Nets in a 2013 blockbuster trade with the Celtics. "The Truth" has played in 137 playoff games over his career and was a member of the 2008 title-winning Celtics.
On his way off the court, Pierce had a little bit more fun, throwing his headband into the crowd. The celebratory gesture was initially rejected, as Raptors fans threw the headband back to him, but he stuck with it.
"There were just too many cameras on them, they wanted to have pride," Pierce said during his post-game comments. "The third time was the charm."
Pierce finished with 15 points (on 6-for-13 shooting), four rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams led the Nets with 24 points apiece. Brooklyn is seeking its first postseason series victory since 2007.
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 22 points (on 7-for-18 shooting), eight assists and seven rebounds. Greivis Vasquez added 18 points (on 5-for-11 shooting), eight assists and four rebounds off the bench.
Brooklyn, the No. East's 6 seed, holds a 1-0 series lead over the Raptors, the No. 3 seed. Game 2 is set for Tuesday in Toronto. Top video via YouTube user NBA | Bottom video via YouTube user TheBrooklynGame