When Doc Rivers left Paul Pierce on the floor in the fourth quarter, with five fouls and 5:15 remaining, it, at first, looked like the risk paid off.

On the next possession Pierce ripped off a screen, collected the ball and gently kissed a 4-foot floater off the glass for two. But just like that, a minute following his fifth foul, the 34-year-old fouled out trying to make a move at the offensive end.

Pierce admitted he was upset as he collected himself on the bench and Mickael Pietrus entered the game. But the longtime Celtic was all smiles as he watched Rajon Rondo score seven straight points following his exit.

And as the Celtics persevered over the Philadelphia 76ers, 85-75, last night at the Garden, Pierce says what he saw, while sitting on the bench, showed what this team is made of as it heads to Miami for tomorrow's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

"It says a lot. You know with me out, one of our primary scoring options. Guys came together, showed some resolve," Pierce said. "Other guys stepped up defensively. Offensively Rondo did what he had to do and we're sitting here talking about going to Miami tomorrow. So it's a great feeling, especially not being able to play the last few minutes."