It didn’t take long for the veterans on the Brooklyn Nets to speak ill of themselves after falling to the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of their respective series.
“We were a soft team tonight,” Pierce said.
“[That’s] frustrating, especially when you have an opportunity [to win]. That is where the game is won — in the trenches. We can’t give up  offensive rebounds, especially. That is tough to overcome.”
via Paul Pierce: Nets were ‘soft team’ in Game 2 | New York Post
Based on the words used in Pierce’s statement, it sounds like Pierce took a dig at the big men on his team. Those big men, Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee, and Andray Blatche weren’t exactly great “in the trenches” grabbing a combined 13 rebounds. Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas alone had more than those three, bragging 14 total rebounds, five of which were on the offensive side of the ball. Amir Johnson also grabbed nine rebounds in 36 minutes of play. To simply put it, when Paul Pierce and Kyle Lowry have as many or more rebounds as a player in the Nets frontcourt, you have a problem.
This is why many were weary of picking the Nets to win this series despite having an experience edge over the youthful Raptors team. They can’t control the boards against the Johnson-Valanciunas and when the reserves enter the game, they’re outmatched against the likes of Patrick Patterson.
The Nets have a chance to redeem themselves as the series heads to Brooklyn for Game 2. But for them to take control and have a chance to make it to the second round of the playoffs, they’ll have to play completely opposite of Pierce’s accusation.