Following a performance in which he made just 5-of-19 shots and finished with 12 points, Paul Pierce acknowledged his poor performance cost the Celtics in an 83-74 loss to the Hawks in Game 1 Sunday night in Atlanta.
"I thought I had really good looks tonight," Pierce said. "For us to win I have to be a better player. That's just what it is. I have to knock down shots, I have to be aggressive on the offensive end. I have to guard Joe Johnson. I think I was a really big culprit of that tonight. Shots I got tonight, I'll take all of them. I missed a ton of them. I even missed a layup wide open at the end of the game. That was just an indication of the night I had."
Pierce said his sore big toe had no impact on his subpar night. He gave credit to the Atlanta defense.
"We kind of eased into the game," Pierce said. "It's hard to tell. We establish ourselves defensively early, and we definitely didn't do that. They got every loose ball, every 3-pointer, they got everything they wanted [on first look]. It's like in a boxing match, you sit there, you have your guard up then you take your guard down and they punch you and you realize you're in a fight. We have to realize we're in a fight from the jump. That's all there is to it.
"Very physical game, both teams scrapping and playing real hard. We just lost our composure a little bit, but that's how the playoffs are. You can't expect anything to go your way. You just have to mentally battle through it."
Pierce is hoping -- like his coach and teammates -- that Rajon Rondo won't be suspended for Game 2 Tuesday after the point guard's run-in with official Marc Davis.
"We hope so," Pierce said when asked if he's hopeful Rondo will be available Tuesday. "It's out of my control. It's out of his control right now, so we just have to see."
Added Pierce: "It's disappointing losing. I thought after the first quarter we really picked it up. But you have to understand, this is a long series. You have to win four games. We just have to learn from our mistakes, learn from our first quarter, learn from what we did better in the second and third quarters and learn to keep our composure.
"We just can't panic. It's just one game. It's not the end of the world. We'll get another opportunity in Game 2 to steal home court before we go home."