Paul Pierce stood and clapped as he faced the fans behind the bench moments before the fourth quarter commenced, trying to pump up a somewhat sleepy crowd. With no Deron Williams because of right patella tendinitis -- which thrust Jorge Gutierrez into his first career start -- Shaun Livingston sitting out for a second straight game with a sore big toe and Alan Anderson a late scratch because of a sore abdominal muscle that bothered him in warm-ups, the Nets were lacking some juice in their matchup with the Hawks. So Pierce put on his virtual pom-pons with hopes of injecting some life into Barclays Center, the place where the Nets had rattled off a franchise-record 15 straight wins and the venue where he'd scored his 25,000th point minutes earlier. Pierce's gestures may have sparked the 17,732 fans into a frenzy, but there wasn't much to cheer about when the final buzzer sounded. The Nets (43-36) couldn't get it done in the fourth quarter Friday night, failing to nail a big shot or get a big defensive stop in a 93-88 loss to the Hawks. A floater in the lane by Jeff Teague, who outplayed his brother Marquis Teague all night, with 19.3 seconds left gave the Hawks (36-43) a five-point edge. That essentially put the icing on Atlanta's streak-busting victory, which dampened Pierce's accomplishment and dimmed the Knicks' flickering playoff hopes. The Hawks' magic number for eliminating the Knicks is one. In scoring 13 points, Pierce became only the fourth active player and the 18th in NBA history to reach 25,000 points. "It just shows the longevity," Pierce said, "staying healthy, being in the right situation and being pretty good." Still, he'll lament the four free throws he clanked.
Paul Pierce reaches 25,000 points
Newsday | Apr 12