- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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TORONTO –- Paul Pierce says his secret to being clutch is hidden deep in his DNA.
While he jokes that he may be a dinosaur, Pierce is serious about why he loves taking the big shots: His Dino DNA contains the clutch trait.
“I think it’s just in the DNA,” Pierce said Tuesday at Nets shootaround when asked why he loves the fourth quarter. “Everybody don’t have it. Everybody is not born with it. Can’t buy it at Costco or Walgreens. It’s in the DNA.”
Asked how he has sustained it through his 15 years as pro, Pierce replied, “Like I said, it’s in the DNA.
“There is nothing I can do to let it go. I can’t lose it. I can’t break it," he added. "I mean, it’s in there, it’s in there.”
The Nets hope that DNA reveals itself again in Game 2 against the Raptors on Tuesday night. Pierce lifted the Nets to a 94-87 win in Toronto on Saturday by scoring nine straight points in the final three minutes to steal Game 1.
He had missed six of his first eight shots and had just six points going into the fourth quarter. He finished with 15 points while silencing a raucous Toronto crowd.
“A lot of players shy away from the moment,” Kevin Garnett said. “Some [relish] it. He’s one of them. I think Paul looks to obviously see himself in a different light, and he comes out and plays like it.
“I’ve seen him do it countless times,” added Pierce’s former Celtics teammate. “I’ve seen him look for the moments more and more versus running from it. He wants it. He takes it on.”
Pierce, 36, joked that he was a dinosaur in reference to a Toronto newspaper headline that billed the first-round series as “RAPTORS VS. DINOSAURS” accompanied by a picture of the Nets’ two vets Pierce and Garnett.
Of course, Pierce and Garnett had the last laugh in Game 1. Pierce hopes he can add to his clutch résumé with another vintage "Truth" performance in Game 2.
He admits he has had the thirst to hit big shots since he was a freshman in high school.
“I think I was like in the ninth grade,” Pierce said, recalling his first big shot. “It was my first game winner. You always remember that first one. Ninth grade, junior varsity game. I think I won on a tip-in at the buzzer. Then just felt the drive.
“That was just the beginning,” Pierce added. “Once you get a taste of it, you enjoy those moments. [It] just grew and grew, and it manifested over the years.”
11dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford