Paul Pierce is playing out of his mind for the Nets

Brooklyn Nets' Paul Pierce, right, protects the ball from Minnesota Timberwolves' Corey Brewer during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 30, 2014, at Barclay's Center in New York. The Nets won 114-99. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Paul Pierce, right, protects the ball from Minnesota’s Corey Brewer.

Don’t look now, but Brooklyn’s professional basketball team has won 13 straight home games, and reluctant Net Paul Pierce is right in the thick of it.

Pierce had himself quite a weekend, dropping 16 points in the first quarter of Sunday’s 114-99 win over the Timberwolves. He finished with 22. The early outburst came two nights after Pierce put up 17 points in the first quarter in a 108-97 win over the Cavs. It’s the first time in Pierce’s career that he’s scored at least 16 points in consecutive first quarters. What in the name of Glenn Rivers is going on here?

Pierce had a difficult time accepting his trade to Brooklyn, but the former Celtics captain is thriving on a winning team. In 16 March games Pierce averaged 14.6 points, making 51 percent of his shots from the field. He shot .467 on 3-pointers and checked in with a plus/minus of 10.5. Pierce’s offensive rating the last two months is 118, up from a dismal 91 in 14 November games. In other words, he’s finally settled in. The Nets currently occupy the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

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You don’t have to look any further than the reception Pierce got from the TD Garden fans upon his return to Boston to know how loved he is here, but on some level its hard seeing Pierce do his thing somewhere else. It’s also hard seeing Pierce’s leadership in display, using the same cadence in his postgame commentary as he used here.

“I think a lot of teams with bad character, bad leadership in the locker room would’ve laid down a long time ago. Probably by Christmas would’ve been making summer plans,” Pierce told the AP. “But not this group.”

Go get ‘em, P.