CLEVELAND -- The Celtics might look back and kick themselves over missed opportunities in Game 1, but maybe no player more than Paul Pierce, who seemed unnerved by early foul trouble and struggled to regain his rhythm late in the game.
Pierce connected on four of his first five shots, scoring eight points in under five minutes to start the game. Then he went ice cold, while picking up three fouls before the end of the first half.
Pierce ultimately missed 11 of his final 12 shots from the floor.
His only make over the final 43 minutes came on a 3-pointer with 7:39 to play that pulled Boston within one at 87-86. LeBron James answered with a trifecta of his own at the other end of the floor and, while the Celtics tied the game soon after, Pierce missed three shots over the final 2:46 as the Cavaliers pulled away.
Pierce simply couldn't get a shot to fall. He missed two attempts from the lane in the second quarter, three perimeter jumpers in the third, and a combination of the two in the final frame (four inside the paint, two from the perimeter).
Pierce admitted the foul trouble mentally took him off his game.
"I got my third foul, which really hurt me in the first half, and I wasn't as aggressive in the third quarter as I wanted to be," said Pierce. "I can't really worry about that. I just have to continue to play and be aggressive on both ends of the court and see what happens.
"I'm not a player that fouls out. I'm not a player that is always in foul trouble, so I'm smart enough to keep myself on the floor without picking up fouls. I picked up a couple fouls tonight that I didn't want to pick up, but that is the way the game goes sometimes."
Play Podcast Grantland's Bill Simmons discusses the state of the Lakers, Phil Jackson's future, the perception of Rajon Rondo, Doc Rivers' impact on the Clippers and more.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.