An honor guard from the Boston police, fire and emergency medical services brought out the American flag, and a cappella group Voices of Freedom, in military uniforms, sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" before the game. The moment of silence was punctuated often by pro-Boston cheers.
"They've been through a lot," Rivers, whose father was a police officer in the Chicago area, said before the game. "I think they can't get enough support; they can't get enough love. So I think it will be wonderful for them and for the fans as well."
The Celtics were scheduled to play Indiana in Boston in their regular-season finale April 16, the day after the bombings. The game was canceled, and the Celtics began the playoffs in New York, where they went down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series.
The Bruins and Red Sox received an emotional welcome on their return, and Friday it was the Celtics' turn.
Between the first and second quarters, the time the Celtics traditionally recognize a "Hero Among Us," dozens of doctors and nurses, police and other law enforcement officials and marathon volunteers were given a standing ovation when they were escorted onto the court by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Fans at the game were subjected to increased security, including searches of their cars and metal-detecting wands. Once inside, they found white T-shirts on their seats with "Boston Strong" written in Celtics green.
The basket supports featured an ad for the One Fund, the charity established to help the bombing victims.
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