Pierce, Garnett visit Celtics for 1st time as Nets

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm •  Published: January 25, 2014
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WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — Paul Pierce might have trouble finding the visitors' locker room or controlling his emotions in his return to Boston.

Beating the Celtics? That should be the easy part.

Pierce and Kevin Garnett will face their former team on their old home court for the first time Sunday night since the blockbuster trade that sent them to the Brooklyn Nets on draft night.

"It's going to be a little weird," Pierce said.

The former captain spent all 15 of his previous seasons with Boston. Garnett was there for the past six. Together with Ray Allen, they led the team to its 17th NBA championship in 2008. They made it back to the finals in 2010, but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the seventh game.

Quite a turnaround from the four straight seasons without a playoff series victory before they teamed up.

"The emotions probably will be high just because of the success that we had," Garnett said. "We were fortunate to be part of that whole transformation and some things are forever, man, and I'm happy to say that I'm part of that era."

A bygone era for the Celtics.

In full rebuilding mode, they have only five players who were teammates with Pierce and Garnett last season. The Celtics are 3-16 in their last 19 games.

"They're going through a lot of different changes, sort of like the change they went through when I was there before we got Kevin and before we got Ray," Pierce said. "They're still trying to find their identity."

The Nets struggled early, going 10-21. But they're 9-1 in their last 10 games with Pierce and Garnett playing important roles.

The teams met twice in the exhibition season, but Garnett sat out both games while Pierce played only the one in Brooklyn. Both played in the teams' first regular-season meeting, a Nets win in Brooklyn.

When they return to Boston, video tributes for both players are scheduled during timeouts or at the end of quarters.

Will Pierce be as emotional as former coach Doc Rivers was when he returned with his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers, following his departure from Boston after last season?

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