Paul Pierce didn't speak to the media after Sunday afternoon's Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. He was ejected with seven minutes to play, he hit the showers, and he left the building in a hurry after the final buzzer.
But at practice on Monday afternoon at the University of Miami gym, Pierce took a moment to address the assembled reporters and discuss the two technical fouls that led to his early departure Sunday.
"I was surprised to get kicked out of the game," Pierce said Monday. "I didn't think what I did warranted ejection. But sometimes get players get caught up in the emotion of the game, and sometimes the refs do too."
Pierce was automatically thrown out when referee Ed Malloy gave him his second technical at the 7:00 mark of the fourth quarter, a double tech for jawing with Dwyane Wade after the two of them got tangled up in a hard pick. Fifty-eight seconds earlier, he'd gotten a double tech with James Jones after taking a hard shooting foul from the Heat forward.
"I thought I was fouled excessively on both plays, truthfully," Pierce said. "I thought there should have been a flagrant on both of them. But it's up to me to keep my composure."
Pierce declined to criticize Malloy in too much detail, nor did he blame himself excessively for losing his composure. His tone was simply disappointment with abandoning the Celtics, who were within 13 and threatening to go on a run in the fourth quarter of Game 1.
"I was more disappointed to let my teammates down," he said. "That's the first thing I said when I got to the locker room. You put yourself in that situation, and it hurts your team. I can't do that. I'm too important to this team."
Now the challenge for Pierce becomes putting the Game 1 fiasco behind him and focusing on Tuesday, when the Celtics and Heat reconvene in downtown Miami for Game 2. Time to forget the past.
"I've already done it," Pierce said. "The only reason I'm talking about it is because you all brought it up."