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NBA Playoffs -- Pierce, Wizards steal Game 1


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- At age 37, Paul Pierce appears to still have a lot left in the tank.

The 16-year NBA veteran led all scorers with 20 points, including a big 3 in the extra session, to lead the Washington Wizards to a 93-86 overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound small forward swished 4-of-7 shots from downtown and 7-of-10 overall. The 10-time All-Star also had four boards, a steal and a block in 37 minutes of action.

"It takes the pressure off us and puts in on them now," Pierce told the Associated Press after Washington handed Toronto it;s seventh straight Game 1 loss in a playoffs series, a streak that dates back to 2001.

Pierce's heroics came at an opportuned time as Wizards ace point guard John Wall struggled mightily, missing 13 of 18 shots for a mere 10 points. Bradley Beal finished with 16 points while Nene had 12 and 13 rebounds for Washington, which shot a low 39.4 percent from the filed (39-of-99) and 28.6 percent from 3-point range (6-for-21).

With a 1-0 lead in the young series, the fifth-seeded Wizards stole home court advantage from the fourth-seeded Raptors.

Toronto, which will also host Game 2 of the best-of-7 series, couldn't get anythng going, making just 35 of 92 field goals and 6 of 29 triples. After Terence Ross missed what would have been a game-winning tip shot as time expired in regulation, the Raptors were overpowered in overtime, 11-4.

Amir Johnson did most of the heavy lifting for Toronto with 18 points and 8 boards while DeMar DeRozan pitched in 15 markers and 6 dimes. But Kyle Lowry, an All-Star playmaking point guard, struggled with just 7 points with three turnovers, before fouling out with 2:35 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Raptors trailing, 79-75. (HDS)

Photo: Paul Pierce (R) lent his veteran experience to the Washington Wizards, who stole Game 1 from the Toronto Raptors on Saturday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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