Paul Pierce’s trademark braggadocio was nowhere to be found Tuesday night, after the Toronto Raptors evened up their first round Playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets. Pierce instead accused his team of playing soft in the 100-95 Game 2 loss. Per the NY Post:
That was the message from Paul Pierce to his teammates after allowing the Raptors to outrebound them 52-30 — including getting 19 offensive rebounds — in Toronto’s 100-95 Game 2 win that evened the first-round series at a game apiece.
“We were a soft team tonight,” Pierce said.
“[That’s] frustrating, especially when you have an opportunity [to win]. That is where the game is won — in the trenches. We can’t give up  offensive rebounds, especially. That is tough to overcome.”
Throughout the game, the Nets found themselves playing good defense for a full possession, only to fail to secure the rebound and give the Raptors multiple opportunities to score. For the second straight game, second-year center Jonas Valanciunas dominated inside, finishing with 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Amir Johnson had 16 points and nine rebounds and Patrick Patterson added 12 points and nine boards.
“We have to box out,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “We gave up 19 offensive rebounds, so it’s something we have to get better at.”
After the Nets weren’t called for a defensive foul in the fourth quarter of their win Saturday, the Toronto media stoked the flames ahead of Game 2 with talk of a rather absurd conspiracy theory — the NBA is out to knock the Raptors out of the playoffs.
The “controversy” over the officiating turned out to be much ado about nothing, as the Nets wound up being called for 26 fouls in Game 2, compared to 21 for the Raptors, and the two teams shot 28 and 29 free throws, respectively.