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Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return to Boston for first time as Brooklyn Nets

Jan 26, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

BOSTON – Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return to Boston today as conquering heroes.

Centerpieces of the Celtics’ 2008 championship team, Pierce and Garnett will always be heroes of the past for fans here.

But now, they’ve gone from goats to heroes of the present with the Brooklyn Nets, who are an NBA-best 9-1 in 2014.

“We got them going,” Kendrick Perkins, another member of the 2008 title team, said with twinge of pride in his voice.

Indeed, Perkins’ Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Nets on Jan. 2 to begin Brooklyn’s hot streak. As the Nets have climbed back toward respectability, Pierce’s and Garnett’s production has climbed, too.

But when Brooklyn visits Boston at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN), that likely won’t matter to the home fans. Regardless how Pierce and Garnett are playing, the crowd will almost certainly top even the reception they gave Doc Rivers last month:

Unlike Rivers’ return, the point guard of the 2008 team – Rajon Rondo, whom Garnett said he’d do anything for – should be in the lineup tonight. The bond those players still share is tight, and them facing each other on the court will make the game even more memorable.

At one point, it wasn’t a certainty Rondo would return from his ACL injury in time. Perkins said he speaks with Rondo nearly every day.

“He seemed a little nervous. He was a little scared,” Perkins said. “Every little thing was bother him and stuff like that. But I told him, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you.’ ‘I keep hearing this and this.’ You know how he gets. I had to tell him, once he gets back on the court, everything else goes out the window.”

Before Rondo got on the court and felt fine in his season debut – Perkins called Rondo afterward to confirm, as predicted, everything went smoothly – the Celtics named Rondo the 15th captain in franchise history.

“It’s his team,” Perkins said. “He did learn, so he should know how to be a leader.”

  1. miamiheatdynasty - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Hope KG and Pierce apologize to Ray Allen one day. They forced their way out of Boston, and he signed sum where as a free agent.

    • money2long - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      thumb up for these two guys hearing cheers upon their return.
      thumb down if you feel they will receive boos.

    • coachjac30 - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Its funny people seem to forget how big a Diva Ray Allen was. He fights right in with the two biggest divas in the league in LBJ and the dirbag Wade

      Neither KG nor Pierce forced their way out. As for Allen, he made the right decision for himself by choosing not to resign with Boston.

      The Garden should be rocking tonight to cheer on 2 Great Celtics.

      • miamiheatdynasty - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        KG had a no-trade clause. How did he get to Brooklyn?

      • coachjac30 - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        Miami you must be one of those heat fans that left the playoff game last year in the middle of a great comeback.

        He eventually waived his no trade clause after Paul Pierce harassed/begged him to do so. He also accepted the trade because he knew it would benefit the Celtics.

        Ray Allen shouldn’t be scorned for his decision, but to say the KG/Pierce and Ray Allen situations are similar, is just crazy.

      • pharohislife - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        @miamiheatdynasty You see that’s exactly the problem. You fans of other teams don’t know the entire situation as proven by your 1st comment. All you guys saw was the Trade the day it happened and saw that KG had a No-Trade Clause that he waived.

        But if you had followed the Deal the whole entire time it was developing you would know that Ainge wanted to go in a different direction, he wanted to start the rebuild so he was likely to move Pierce regardless if the Nets trade went through or not. Pierce knew this too, so when the Nets trade was proposed Pierce would rather get traded somewhere where KG would be coming along with him then if he got traded somewhere alone later on.

        KG was against the Trade initially, it was Pierce who had to convince him, he said it took awhile. He said one day he had to call him and he was literally on the phone with him for hours before finally getting him to come come around to it. So No, they did not force their way out of Boston that makes zero sense. and it is a different situation then Ray’s who left willingly and happily.

      • pharohislife - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        If you’re also wondering why AInge would have to trade Pierce, Pierce’s contract put Ainge in a tight spot. If Ainge chose to retain Pierce for the final year of his contract that season he would have to pay alot more than what many thought was unreasonable under the circumstances and would hinder the team’s flexabilty and chance to rebuild the team.

    • pharohislife - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      My man, you are utterly mistaken if you think they forced their way out. You sound ridiculous because you clearly know close to nothing about the situation. As someone who watched it all unfold I can tell you exactly how it went down and your take is not even close.

    • bbgraf08 - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Delusional. The Celtics wanted to rebuild and part of that was moving these two, still useful, but older players. PP and KG will recieve a heroes welcome at the Garden today.

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      I would expect nothing less than misinformation from a fan of a team from Miami. Sounds like you’d be a perfect candidate for the Fins G.M. job. I remember the Heat back in the Glenn Rice and Matt Geiger days. I’m guessing you don’t.

      • kingtotz - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        woah! another old timer here. i don’t remember Matt Geiger, but i do remember Rony Seikaly.

  2. rickeye9 - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Kevin Durant played on the celtics?

  3. djshnooks - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Lebron left his HOMETOWN team!?!

    Wanna talk about traitors?

    Ray Allen betrayed his best friends.

    • obmig - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      He didn’t betray them, he chose to play for a different basketball team. Best friends understand business instead of acting like scorned 2 year old babies.

    • antistratfordian - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:10 AM

      LeBron’s hometown team is the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish of Akron – who, btw, proudly play in LeBron James Arena.

      You want to talk about a real betrayal? Look no further than Doc Rivers. He took off out of nowhere, like he couldn’t get out of Boston fast enough. At least with Ray Allen – because of how tumultuous his time in Boston had become – his departure in free agency that summer was not just understandable, but inevitable.

      • coachjac30 - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        amen to this. Rivers had just signed a new 5 year contract and then he bolts. At least Allen was a free agent

  4. llcriticll - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    i thought I was the only one for a SEC who saw durants name up top

  5. vikesdynasty - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Man they hold that 2008 team like they were the greatest team of all time

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      vikesdynasty…an oxymoron coming from a…

    • coachjac30 - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      nope, just the greatest team of that year, which can never be taken away from them

  6. coachjac30 - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    Great job by the Celtics and their fans tonight honoring Pierce and KG

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