Q. Doc was up here saying that you always wanted to play for the Patriots, and on that long inbounds pass from Kevin Garnett that you caught there, could you talk about that play?
PAUL PIERCE: I was just showing off my Randy Moss and my Tom Brady in one play, that's all. (Laughter).
Going up to catch it, then I went to my Brady mode when I was falling out of bounds to find Rondo for the receiving end.
Q. How close did that come to a turnover?
PAUL PIERCE: I don't know, it was all instinctive. I took off long, and that was part of the play. I was supposed to come Ray and go long. We tried to get Ray the ball actually, and I think Kevin saw Derek Fisher was on me so he just threw it up. It was like about three or four seconds on the out of bounds before he got the violation, and I just went up and caught it. I know I was on the sideline falling out, and I turned and I saw Rondo streaking and I was able to get it to him and he made a great play. We didn't have to shoot the ball, I was a little nervous when he shot it but he made a great play.
Q. Can you talk about the flow you were in personally.
PAUL PIERCE: Like I said, wanted to just be aggressive from the jump. Coach came out, ran the first play for me, came off the pick‑and‑roll, got a nice look and just wanted to continue throughout the rest of the game. Teammates did a good job of finding me open, setting picks. But it was all in the team flow, and it was great. I was just a little disappointed I wasn't able to get to the line as much as I shot the ball. I usually get to the line a little bit more. But it was a good win.
Q. Talk about how big it was to get this one tonight, and going out to LA in the position that you guys are in.
PAUL PIERCE: Well, you don't want to go into LA down 3‑2 with two games in LA. So this was the biggest game of the year. You know, every game gets bigger. Great opportunity for us, got two games in LA, we've just got to get one. I think we've been a great road team all year. We're just going to try to get it done.
Q. Just talk about the prediction that was caught on air in LA. You didn't get your sweep here, but you're still in an enviable position. Look at what was caught on the air ‑‑
PAUL PIERCE: My prediction? I never gave a prediction to you guys.
Q. The prediction that was caught on air during the ‑‑
PAUL PIERCE: That was a rumor. (Laughter). They said I said that?
Q. What did you think about that being caught on the air and your confidence at that time?
PAUL PIERCE: I mean, I didn't think nothing. I'm not supposed to think that my team is going to come back here and lose a game at home. You know, I'm just thinking, hey, we've got to go home, if we get all three of these wins, we win the series. I'm not about to say we're going to get two out of three. That's what we try to do. I don't regret that. I wasn't being cocky about it, I was just confident in my team. I didn't say anything negative about the Lakers. I was just referring to what I wanted my team to do, that's all.
Q. What was your frame of mind coming to this game after the previous games of the series?
PAUL PIERCE: The same mindset, just come here, attack. The thing about me, when I step on this court, NBA Finals, I don't want to have no regrets at the end of the series. Whatever I do I want to be aggressive with the ball, go out and play as hard as I can 48 minutes. That's what I'm trying to do to finish out this series.
Q. Talk about the first half and your squad, ten less shots, seven more buckets than the Lakers. You guys were really selective.
PAUL PIERCE: Yeah, I mean, we looked at the half and we looked that we were shooting like 60 percent, they were shooting like 33 percent. We weren't real satisfied with the way we played on the defensive end as far as our rebounding. We gave up offensive rebounds and we fouled ‑‑ usually when you go in at halftime and look at the stats and you see we were shooting 60 percent and they're shooting 33 and you're only up six, that says something about the other things we weren't doing. We were playing well and shooting well but we didn't rebound well, and we got them to the line too many times. That's why they stayed in the game for most of the game.
Q. Several times during this series Doc has talked about how you're going to have to win when Kobe gets a big number, and he sounded almost calm about it. How calm were things when it was going on in the third quarter and Kobe is getting 19?
PAUL PIERCE: Well, I would say it was the toughest shot that I ever seen somebody hit while I was on the court. It was like everything was ‑‑ he was shooting fadeaway threes, fadeaway jumpers off the double‑team. You knew he was going to come out and be aggressive and try to carry his team. He's a heck of a player. You've got to expect that from him. You've got to expect he's going to come out and play his best game. I thought we did a good job with the other guys containing them.
You know, it's going to happen. Kobe is the one guy that you probably can't stop in this league, but we feel like with these other guys we can slow them down and almost shut them down, and we'll give ourselves a great chance at winning.
Q. How hard was it to stick to the plan? Doc made it sound like he was afraid you were going to get out of your own offense.
PAUL PIERCE: No, I think we've been a disciplined team for most of the playoffs. Usually when things ain't going right for us defensively, we say we've got to do it faster or harder. There wasn't nothing to change off the game plan, we just wanted to be real aggressive with Kobe in the pick‑and‑roll when he got to the lane, but hey, he was hitting those shots. What do you expect? He's one of the greatest players ever to play this game. At the end of the day we get the win and that's the most important thing.
Q. Two plays, the last play of the first half, could you describe what was going on there? And the play where you wrestled the ball from Kobe late in the game and Kobe thought he got fouled on that play.
PAUL PIERCE: Well, the first half ‑‑
Q. You and Rajon.
PAUL PIERCE: Oh, it was nothing. I told Rajon at halftime, I had a couple buckets going and I wanted the ball, and he wanted to do something different, and I was a little upset at that. Hey, he's our point guard and I trust him. He's made so many great plays for us throughout the year and throughout the playoffs. It wasn't nothing. I went and told him at halftime that it was nothing. We've got spats with our team all the time. We always have spats. But the good thing about it, we always clean it right up. I was a little mad but I went in the locker room and told him don't sweat it, we're in this to get a win. It isn't about who gets the last shot.
Q. And the Kobe play?
PAUL PIERCE: I just saw the ball in front of me and I just wanted to go at it as hard as I could. I saw a rebound, Artest missed, and I thought Kevin had it and the ball was in front of me, and I just wanted to aggressively grab it. And I was able to do that and get a time‑out before the ball went out of bounds or they tried to foul me.
Q. You guys hold them to 12 assists tonight. Can you talk a little bit about your team defense and limiting their ball movement all night long.
PAUL PIERCE: Yeah, I mean, our defense was pretty good for the most part, but they kept rebounding. That's why they were in the game. 16 offensive rebounds, and they got on the break a little bit, they shot the three better tonight, better than they have in the past few games. But overall definitely we've got to do a better job rebounding.
But I was happy with our defensive effort. We scrapped, we got them in the half court for the most part, and that's the type of game we like. We like to look up and see the score in the 80s and 90s for the most part. You don't want to get into a running game because that's what they thrive in. They're one of the best offensive teams in the league and they've done it all year long. It would be tough for us to beat them if they go out and score 120 points.
Q. Take us through your mindset in the third quarter when you and Kobe are playing dueling banjoes and he had the 19 and you had the 11. As a scorer were there any moments where you said, man, I've got to keep up with this kid? And second part of the question, they doubled you in free‑throw attempts, 26 to 13. Do you guys think you can go to LA and win knowing that they went to the line twice as much as you did?
PAUL PIERCE: The beautiful thing about this game, each game plays out a little different. Just because one thing happens one game doesn't mean it's going to happen the next.
As far as Kobe going at it, I wasn't in no personal duel with him. I really didn't even take the notice that we were going, I guess, back and forth at the time. I'm out there trying to help my ballclub to win. Kobe is doing what he does for his ballclub. He has to score the ball night in and night out. That's about it, man. I mean, great player. He makes tough shots, and he's a proven winner. I'm not in the one‑on‑one deal with Kobe at all.
Q. You've already been asked in this press conference about things that you've been caught on camera saying or whatever, but apparently Phil Jackson was caught in a huddle saying in the fourth quarter that they're one of the best teams at blowing fourth quarter leads and they're showing it now. When a coach says something like that, what do you think?
PAUL PIERCE: You know, he's right. (Laughter). What you just said, that's been the truth for us throughout the regular season. I haven't really seen too much of that in the playoffs, but coaches say things to try to motivate their team. He's supposed to give them confidence. He's supposed to say something like that. I probably would say the same thing if I was a coach in that situation. It doesn't bother me at all.
Q. That you held onto the lead obviously is proven in the fact that you're not that team I'm assuming.
PAUL PIERCE: We don't want to be that team like we were in the regular season. So hopefully we can go out here and try to win one of these two games and not give up a fourth quarter lead, I guess.
Q. Other than a few probably great quarters in the first four games, it's been somewhat frustrating for you offensively ‑‑
PAUL PIERCE: No, it hasn't.
Q. It seemed like this game from start to finish you had a little extra bounce in your step. Can you talk about how you came out tonight and stayed on fire the entire game.
PAUL PIERCE: I haven't really been frustrated with my offense in this series truthfully. Just trying to play a solid game, take what the defense gives me. Today Coach just put me in more pick‑and‑roll, I think. I was given more opportunity. If you have a chance to watch our team, we're not a team that goes out and highlights one player where he gets all the shots, scores all the points. We run more of an equal opportunity offense to if a guy gets going then we'll go to him a little bit more, and I just think that was the case today. He saw I made a few shots, they went to me a little bit more. I think that's something with our offense, when a guy gets going, you earn touches, and it's been like that. That's why throughout the course of playoffs you see different guys that's leading us in scoring each game.
So I think today I was able to get going a little more than normal in the first quarter and they just kept going to me, and it carried over for the rest of the game.
Q. Have you thought about the possibility of winning a title in your hometown on their court? I mean, has that crossed your mind the last 30 minutes?
PAUL PIERCE: No, it hasn't crossed me the last 30 minutes, but it's going to have to happen if we're going to win the title. I mean, that would be great. I'm not going to try to jinx it right now. We've got to win one game, that's the goal. But it would be amazing if we get it done.