NEW YORK -- One night after playing the toughest game of his life, Paul Pierce looked at ease on the court.
“I had a good rhythm going,” said Pierce, who had 23 of his points in the second half. “They were getting the ball to me and I was able to make some plays, knock down some shots.”
That wasn’t the case in his return to Boston, where Pierce was clearly overcome with emotion. He had just six points in that game on 2-for-10 shooting.
“It was good just to get some normalcy back today, and I just felt comfortable and relaxed,” Pierce said.
Pierce had an opportunity to win the game, but his desperation heave from 29 feet only grazed the rim.
“I think all my shots have a chance,” he said.
Pierce received a technical foul with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
“I was frustrated with a [foul call on Kyle Lowry],” Pierce said. “I just took my gum out, I do it every game, and I throw it under the basket, and [referee Tony Brothers] called a tech for that. The refs make judgement calls.”
“He was great,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said of Pierce. “Again that’s a veteran guy understanding the magnitude of a game like this at home against a team that’s in front of you. He definitely had a big game.”
• Kevin Garnett had a team-high 11 rebounds. He has four double-digit rebounding performances in his past nine games after registering just two in his first 29.
• The Nets are 2-7 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. They are 7-2 on the front end.
• Andray Blatche is averaging 17 points on 57.3 percent shooting in his past six games.