It took us until late January, but the Nets finally played in Boston for the first time since trading for Celtic legends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Let’s get you warmed up for this tidal wave of emotions with the starting lineups (listen to coach Jason Kidd’s name being announced for contrast):
But that was nothing compared to the main events. Perhaps in an attempt to make everyone so emotional that they couldn’t see the basket through tears in their eyes or breathe through lumps in their throats, the Celtics played two video tributes to each of their former stars during first-half timeouts. First came Garnett, who was traded to Boston in 2007 and quickly became (nearly as) beloved there as in Minnesota:
Feeling it yet? Now watch Pierce’s video. The Truth spent 15 seasons in Boston — some good, some terrible — and had to grow into his legendary status there. It didn’t always seem like we’d be able to look back at Pierce’s career in Boston as one of the best ever (remember 2006-07?), but here we are:
It takes a lot to laugh, it takes an incredible outpouring of love for two former fan favorites to make a non-Celtics fan cry. These two guys, especially Pierce, deserved such a reception. They then went on to lead their new team over their old one, 85-79.