By Jeff Case
One of the most anticipated homecomings of the season took place last night when the Boston Celtics hosted the Brooklyn Nets. It marked the first game ex-Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce played at TD Garden since being traded to Brooklyn last summer.
Both players have deep emotional ties to the franchise, with Pierce being drafted by the team in 1999 and playing 15 seasons there, helping the Celtics go from Eastern Conference afterthought to a title-winner (2008) and perennial contender. A big key to those contending days came via of the addition of Garnett in the summer of 2007. KG won Defensive Player of the Year honors in his first season with Boston (2007-08) and was arguably — with Pierce — the heart of those contending Celtics clubs.
None of those feats were lost on the Celtics as a franchise, as they had been planning a big video tribute for the duo for weeks, per the Boston Globe. Even before fans got to see those tributes, KG and “The Truth” got plenty of love from the hometown fans during the player introductions …
Then came the in-game tributes for KG and Pierce, both of which stirred up plenty of emotion for Boston fans.
KG’s tribute was first:
And then, after the first quarter, Pierce was honored:
The reaction from the crowd was appreciated plenty by the duo, who saw the Nets win the game 85-79.
(h/t to The Brooklyn Game)