Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce was heroic in a scintillating Game 1 victory against the Toronto Raptors — much less so in Game 2’s 100-95 loss — and claims to have been born with the clutch gene. Per the Globe and Mail:
The first in a long career full of clutch fourth-quarter plays for Brooklyn Nets veteran star Paul Pierce came when he was in the ninth grade, as he tipped in a game-winning buzzer-beater in junior varsity ball.
“I felt a drive, it was just the beginning,” recalled Pierce at the Nets’ Tuesday morning shootaround. “Once you get a taste of it, you enjoy those moments, and it grew and manifested to where I loved those moments.”
“It’s just in the DNA,” quipped Pierce to a large group of reporters, trying to shed light on a question he’s been asked numerous times over his 15-year NBA career. “Everybody don’t have it. Everybody isn’t born with it. You can’t buy it at Costco or Walgreens, it’s in the DNA. It’s in there. There’s nothing I can do to let it go. I can’t lose it. I can’t break it. It’s in there.”
“He’s an NBA champion, he will be a Hall of Famer,” said (Patrick) Patterson. “[He has an] ability to hit clutch shots from spaces out on the perimeter, his ability to handle the ball and use his strength and use his skills to draw fouls and hit tough shots and get to the lane. He can do so much at that position so he causes havoc for me and Amir [Johnson]. The best we can do is just move our feet and get a contest every time.”
“A lot of players shy away from the moment,” said (Kevin) Garnett on Tuesday. “Paul looks to see himself in a different light. He comes out and plays like it. I’ve seen him do it countless times. I’ve seen him look for the moment to score versus running from it. He wants it, he takes it on.”
“It’s understanding, not getting rattled, understanding how to stay focused through maybe bad calls, focused even though the crowd is going crazy, just maintaining that poise,” said Pierce. “As a young team with less experience, sometimes you can get rattled in those situations. But when you’ve been in those situations before, you remember them and how you did, and you try to repeat it.”