Minutes limit gives Pierce fresh start

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
4:18
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Paul Pierce feels a lot better now than he did in last season’s playoffs against the New York Knicks.

Pierce averaged 42.5 minutes per game for the Boston Celtics in that series, but shot just 36.8 percent from the field. He had averaged 33.4 minutes per game during the regular season.

“I mean, I thought throughout the regular season, with the [Rajon Rondo] injury, it really physically and mentally took a toll on me,” the Brooklyn Nets forward said Monday. “I started playing around the 40-minute mark, I think, the second half of the season, and I was kind of spent in the playoffs. But I think [Nets coach] Jason [Kidd] did a great job throughout the regular season, limiting the minutes and giving me the days off in practice and in certain games to where I’m well-rested and ready.”

Pierce averaged 28 minutes per game for the Nets. He played 36 minutes Saturday, scoring nine straight points late in the fourth quarter of Brooklyn’s Game 1 victory.

“I think a lot of guys probably had career lows in minutes,” Kidd said. “So, you know, that’s one of the big things I thought we tried to achieve as a big picture, is not to wear guys out during the 82-game season, but to make sure they’re healthy and ready to go. And I’m glad to hear Paul is fresh and not worn down.

“I thought he was worn down last year because he had to guard me, but it’s good to hear.”

• Reports out of Toronto say Raptors officials were blaming ESPN for their shot-clock malfunctions in Game 1.

“Put it this way, they are not the worldwide leader in electricians,” a report in The Toronto Star said.

Now, those same officials are reportedly changing their tune.



Here was the statement from the team after the game:

“We experienced a signal path failure midway through the third quarter of today's game. Our backup system for the temporary shot clocks relied on the same source. New cables will be run tonight and tomorrow to ensure no issues arise on Tuesday and the NBA will inspect both the fixed and backup systems before Game 2.”

• Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was on SiriusXM radio on Monday morning and said this about his profanity-laced remark at a Toronto fan rally Saturday: “My mom taught me better than that.”

Ujiri sent an apologetic text message to Nets GM Billy King.

“It wasn’t about them,” Ujiri said. “To me, it was about us and trying to build a culture here about believing in ourselves.”

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Johnson
PTS AST STL MIN
16.7 3.8 1.0 34.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 8.0
AssistsD. Williams 6.8
StealsD. Williams 1.1
BlocksB. Lopez 1.6