EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - He's logged more than 5,400 minutes in the 137 games in which he's set foot on a court with an NBA playoff logo, meaning he's experienced just about everything the postseason has to offer.
So if anyone on the Nets understands the difficulty of snatching the first two games on the road in a best-of-seven series, it's Paul Pierce.
As the veteran of 10 previous postseasons can attest, the challenges in achieving such a task might be unmatched. But that's the barricade that stands in front of the Nets Tuesday night when they meet the Raptors in Game 2 at Air Canada Centre.
"Since I've been in the playoffs, I've only done it one time," Pierce, 36, said Monday. "It's a hard thing to do. We have to understand how hard it is to win in another building two times in a row in the playoffs. We have to come with that mentality -- nothing less."
The Nets spent the two days after Saturday's Game 1 victory trying to eliminate any comfortable thoughts that might have been in their minds after Pierce scored nine points in the fourth quarter to lift them to a gritty 94-87 victory.
Call it a reprogramming of their brains.
"It's a mindset. It's a mentality," Shaun Livingston said. "We have to train ourselves to be hungry, to be greedy. I think that's what all the great teams strive for. To win one was great, but it's over. This is Game 2 and we have to refocus.
"They obviously feel it's a must-win for them and we should approach it with that same mentality . . . It's not, 'Oh, we are comfortable, all the pressure is on them.' I don't necessarily believe that. It still should be a war. We should still go in with the killer instinct."
The holdovers from the Nets' playoff fizzle last spring shouldn't need much motivation. The circumstances were a bit different, given that they started their first-round series against the Bulls at home, but the Nets dropped the next three games after the opener, falling into a 3-1 hole before climbing out and forcing a Game 7.
Which they lost. At home.
One difference this time around, other than the obvious with Pierce and Kevin Garnett on board: no plantar fasciitis for Joe Johnson, which allows the Nets to play confidently through their All-Star shooting guard.
"Last year is a lot different than this year, from a personnel standpoint, from us being healthy. It's night and day," Johnson said. "I think this team here really knows what it takes to get to that level and not taking each game for granted. We are not satisfied. We understand we got a game in Toronto, but we want to get another one."
Said Deron Williams, "We want to be greedy. We want to try to get this one. At some point, we were going to have to win one in Toronto. I think it was good that we won the first one, but now we can't let our guard down just because we've stole one. Like I said, we've got to be greedy.
"We've got to go in there ready to play because we know they are going to want to bounce back to get a win.''