After the back cover of the Toronto Sun proclaimed Paul Pierce and company to be a dinosaurs, the 16-year veteran scored nine consecutive points in the final three minutes of Game 1 to seal a Brooklyn victory.
Pierce drained a turnaround, step back jumper with 51.9 seconds left to ice the win for the Nets, then had a message for the raucous Toronto crowd.
“That’s why they brought me here,” Pierce screamed to the crowd of nearly 20,000 on hand at the Air Canada Centre. “That’s why they brought me here!”
“[I’ve seen Pierce do that] countless times, man,” Kevin Garnett told reporters of his friend's performance. “I knew when he hit that three, I knew he was in a rhythm. And then the ball just found him and he was just classic ‘Truth.’ Epic.”
It's been said countless times in the last 24 hours, even by Pierce himself, but bears repeating: This is the reason Billy King mortgaged future drafts and took on the luxury tax bill. You could feel the game slipping away in the fourth quarter on Saturday, but Pierce stepped up and took over, scoring the bulk of his 15 points in the closing minutes. It was a vintage Pierce performance, one that the Nets know is much more common this time of year.
I've talked a bit about the Raptors' closing ability this season, but it was Brooklyn who was able to turn up the heat in crunch time on Saturday. As a result, the Nets will go back to Barclays Center with no worse than a split in Toronto, and -- even though it was Deron Williams and Joe Johnson that did the bulk of the heavy lifting -- they have Pierce to thank for locking this road win down.