Pierce’s experience pays off for Nets

Pierce’s experience pays off for Nets

The Nets hope Pierce can be lethal again in tonight’s Game 2 against the Raptors.

Nets forward Paul Pierce is defended by Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Monday, March 10, 2014.
Nets forward Paul Pierce is defended by Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Monday, March 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Fox / Ron P. Jaffe

In just two minutes and seven seconds, the difference-maker in the first round series between the Nets and Raptors became clear — Paul Pierce. The Nets hope he is as lethal in tonight’s Game 2 as he was down the stretch of Game 1 on Saturday.

The Nets were clinging to a 79-76 lead with 2:58 remaining when “The Truth” came to life. Pierce drained a 3-pointer and, as the Raptors called a time out, exclaimed, “That’s why they brought me here!”

He was absolutely right. After scoring just six points on 2-9 shooting during the game’s first 45 minutes, Pierce then scored nine points on four consecutive Nets possessions and carried Brooklyn to a 94-87 victory in Toronto to take a 1-0 series lead.

Suddenly, the first round draft picks that the Nets sent to the Celtics in exchange for Pierce and Kevin Garnett do not seem like that big of a deal.

Pierce, 36, always has been a run stopper and a closer, and he proved that he still has some magic left in him.

The young Raptors lack playoff experience, something that Pierce and the Nets have plenty of.

DAN FERRARA. Special to amNewYork