BOSTON -- Paul Pierce left the court just 38 seconds into overtime, frustrated and disappointed that he would have to watch the next four minutes unfold from the sidelines.
Pierce fouled out of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals battle against the Miami Heat on Sunday, the third time this postseason and second game in this series.
Less than two minutes after picking up his sixth foul, the Heats top weapon, LeBron James, also fouled out, softening the blow of Pierces inability to contribute.
It was very frustrating, Pierce said after the Celtics 93-91 win. But its gratifying when you see the other star player fouling out, also.
Unlike Game 2 against the Heat in which Pierce fouled out and the Celtics lost by four points in overtime, the Cs banded together for a win without their captain, more reminiscent of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
From the bench, Pierce watched his team score only four points while limiting their opponent to only two, enough to hang on for a 93-91 victory.
Well, we have experience, said Doc Rivers. I dont know what series it was, the Philly series? I cant remember anymore with Paul fouling out.
Playing without Pierce late in the game has forced the Celtics to make offensive adjustments. Without one of their main scoring options, other players have had to step up and contribute at the basket.
It changes when Paul goes out, said Kevin Garnett. The scorers, Rajon (Rondo), myself, Ray (Allen), and everybody has to pick up the load a little bit as far as being more offensive-minded. Like Ive always said, we are a defensive team that can score the basketball.
When Paul goes out, Rajon knows to be a lot more aggressive. Ray knows to be a lot more aggressive. We encourage MP (Mickael Pietrus). I think Quis (Marquis Daniels) was in there in the latter part of the game. Just stay aggressive. As long as we are making stops, we can turn it over into some easy offense and were a hard team to beat at times.
Pierce knows what is at stake in Game 5 and wants to be on the court every minute possible on Tuesday night in Miami.
Weve got to win a game in Miami, of course, he said. We have a chance of winning this series. Its not going to be easy, a good old classic bar fight. Going into it, youve got to expect every game to be like this.