Pierce comes up big on last play to deny the Raptors in Toronto.
The first round of the NBA playoffs 2014 concluded on Sunday, with the San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets prevailing in Game 7 of their gruelling starts.
However, they had contrasting series-deciding experiences, with the Spurs coming through in emphatic fashion behind 32 points from point guard Tony Parker.
The All-Star was 11 of 19 from the field and 10 for 13 on free throws as Dallas were unable to find a way of preventing him from attacking the lanes despite a number of hard fouls.
Parker insisted after the game that he knew that had to be aggressive in order to put the pressure on the visitors who have put up a magnificent fight in this series, but along with 20 points from Manu Ginobili and 15 apiece from Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, they were unable to contain their rivals.
Dirk Nowitzki responded with 22 points and nine rebounds, and despite the disappointment of missing out on the semi-finals to face the Portland Trail Blazers, the respect between the two teams was evident as they embraced for a while after the game.
The series between San Antonio and Portland opens on Tuesday night at home for the Spurs, and they will want to take the momentum from this win into that game and continue to use the disappointment of last year as motivation to make an immediate return to the NBA Finals.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets silenced the Air Canada Centre with Paul Pierce blocking Kyle Lowry’s shot from the lane on the last play of the game to secure a 4-3 series win.
The Nets advance to face the Miami Heat in the semi-finals, but given their experience and calibre of player, they weren’t perhaps expected to be pushed so hard by a young Raptors team.
Backed by their passionate fans, Lowry had 28 points while DeMar DeRozan added 18, but coach Dwane Casey was made to rue a missed opportunity as they suffer first round heartache.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn went 4-0 against Miami in the regular season, but Kevin Garnett has insisted that means nothing heading into their playoff series, and they will be determined to build on this win and improve moving forward.
Brooklyn Nets 104-103 Toronto Raptors
Dallas Mavericks 96-119 San Antonio Spurs