Paul Pierce did not have to do much until the fourth quarter. When he turned it on in the fourth, he buried the Raptors.
Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the final 12 minutes and put the dagger in the Raptors at Air Canada Centre to help the Nets steal Game One and home court advantage in the first game of the Playoffs.
The veteran forward drained a 3-pointer with 2:58 left to give the Nets a six-point lead and hold off the latest Raptors rally. He then made a layup the following possession to answer a Raptors make and then Pierce made back-to-back mid-range jumpers to put the game away and bring the Nets back up eight.
Every Toronto run just seemed to fall short as the team could not take control of the game or lead by more than one point at any one time. The Raptors shot just 39.4 percent from the floor and struggled to get good shots consistently. There certainly were a few nerves too as the Raptors had 19 turnovers.
Yet, Brooklyn needed everything it had to win the game.
It started with going inside to Joe Johnson, who scored 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Deron Williams was in constant attack mode, scoring 24 points on a robust 8-for-20 shooting. Brooklyn missed 17 3-pointers at one time to go 4 for 24 from beyond the arc. That was until Pierce made his back-breaking 3-pointer.
Toronto could not get its key players going consistently. The Raptors will need a better game from DeMar DeRozan to come back in this series. DeRozan had just 14 points on 3-for-13 shooting. Kyle Lowry made 7 of his 18 shots on his way to 22 points. The surprise star, Jonas Valanciunas, had 17 points and 18 rebounds, but turned it over six times.
There is a lot of growing up for the Raptors to do. And more than a few adjustments to make offensively to get this series tied Tuesday at Air Canada Centre.