Paul Pierce

Pierce, who shot a combined 5 for 20 as the teams split the first two games in Boston, began Wednesday’s contest by missing his first six shots from the field. Yet he ended with nine points in the first quarter, keeping the Celtics competitive before they could truly find their rhythm.

Rarely does someone shoot 2 for 8 from the field in the first 12 minutes and make such an impact.

The Sixers won the first quarter 33-28. Without Pierce, things would have been much worse for Boston.

Pierce scored the Celtics final seven points of the quarter, including two driving dunks.

“I wanted to be aggressive regardless,” Pierce said. “When I’m limited to 7 to 9 shots in a game, that isn’t me, and I have to be aggressive in everything I do.”

– Reported by Marc Narducci of theĀ Philadelphia Inquirer