Pierce: I have to keep my composure


Pierce: I have to keep my composure

By A.Sherrod Blakely

MIAMI The NBA is made up of emotional players playing emotional games. NBA playoff games can be especially heated.

At times, those emotions can wrap themselves around the most level-headed of players, and take them for a spin.

Paul Pierce knows this all too well.

The Boston Celtics' captain was tossed in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' 99-90 Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday after he was whistled for two technical fouls -- an automatic ejection.

At the time, Pierce didn't agree with the calls. Having had a night to sleep on it, Pierce's feelings haven't changed.

"Referees called what they saw," he said. "I have to do a better job of keeping my composure. That's it."

Pierce will get that opportunity on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between Boston and Miami.

Keeping Pierce on the floor, especially down the stretch, will be critical to Boston's chances of splitting the first two games in Miami.

His first technical foul came after he was fouled by James Jones with 7:59 to play.

After the play, Pierce got into Jones' face which led to both players being whistled for a technical foul.

The league reviewed the play on Monday, and rescinded the technical foul against Jones. But they also changed the personal foul against Jones to a flagrant-1 penalty.

Less than a minute after the Jones incident, Pierce was trying to set a screen for Ray Allen when Dwyane Wade came barreling into him.

Pierce said something to Wade after Wade was whistled for a foul. It apparently was enough for official Ed Malloy to whistle Pierce for a second technical which is an automatic ejection.

On Monday, Pierce said he never received an explanation from Malloy on exactly why he was being tossed with seven minutes to play.

Lead official Danny Crawford explained to a pool reporter after the game what Pierce did to warrant the second technical foul.

"It's what we call a verbal taunt," Crawford said. "He directed profanity towards Wade. And in the rulebook, that is a verbal taunt. And it just so happened to be Pierce's second technical foul."

Whatever Pierce said, he didn't expect it would result in him being tossed out of the game.

"I was surprised in getting kicked out," Pierce said. "I didn't think what I did warranted ejection. Sometimes players get caught in the hype of the game. Sometimes the refs do, too."

Pierce does know one thing. A repeat meltdown on his part can do nothing but hurt the Celtics' chances of winning Game 2.

And while he's likely to have some thoughts about Game 1 prior to Tuesday's Game 2 tip-off, by no means does he plan to use that as added incentive to play well.

"I don't need no motivation," Pierce said. "I don't need that to fire me up for this. I have a common goal, just like the rest of my teammates, and that's to win a championship. I'm trying to do everything I can to make that happen."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder


Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.