In Game 3, James got off to a hot start, hitting 6 of his first 7 shots and scoring 16 points in the first quarter. But James went 2-for-8 the remainder of the game and finished with 28 points.
"[Pierce] is doing a great job," Andray Blatche said. "He's forcing him to take shots, LeBron is trying to back him down, Paul is a strong guy himself, so he is just playing cat and mouse with him."
Perhaps it's no coincidence that Miami's shot attempts near the rim have gone down with each game from 29 in Game 1 to 18 in Game 2 to 13 in Game 3, according to NBA.com.
Outside of that first quarter in Game 3 when he made 4-of-5 shots against Pierce, James is shooting 4-of-11 against the former Celtic swingman in the series, including 0-for-2 over the last three quarters of Game 3.
After the Game 3 loss, James didn't leave the court immediately, choosing to take in a long look toward the Nets bench as fans in the Barclays Center celebrated the victory. It was as if James was taking a mental note of the moment and already beginning to motivate himself for Game 4.
James, however, displayed no concerns about seeing the Heat's lead in the series cut to 2-1.
"I feel real good about our team, why wouldn't I? I'm on the team," James said.
Pierce is looking forward to the challenge.
"I don't have the offensive load that I had in the past where I set on having to carry us all the way offensively and then take the best defensive assignment," Pierce said. "Now I can reserve a lot of energy toward trying to defend him. When the time comes for me to score, then I'll do that also."
Information from ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.