Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 27, 2014

Pierce, KG return for 1st time as ex-Celtics


Boston —

“This was the toughest game I ever had to play. Tougher than any championship game, Game 7. Tough to concentrate on what was at hand,” Pierce said. “You get showered with love the whole game ... every second of the game. I’m happy we got it over with and I can go back to playing basketball.”
After the game, the two players stayed on the court to hug their former teammates, coaches and training staff; a few thousand fans, many in Pierce and Garnett jerseys, remained to cheer Pierce when he finally walked off the court, throwing his wristbands into the crowd like he did when he played here.
“There’s no words that could really describe the shower of love here,” he said.
Pierce spent 15 years in Boston, scoring 24,021 points in a Celtics uniform — a total that trails only John Havlicek in the history of the NBA’s most-decorated franchise. A 10-time All-Star, Pierce is also in the team’s top seven in rebounds, assists, steals, games and minutes played.
Garnett came to Boston along with Ray Allen in 2007 to form a Big Three that won it all in their first season together. They returned to the NBA Finals two years later, losing to the Lakers.
But Allen left in 2012 and, with his stars aging and a stacked draft class coming out of college this year, general manager Danny Ainge decided it was time to rebuild. He allowed coach Doc Rivers to go to the Clippers and sent Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn for a package heavy with draft picks.
The Celtics surprised early this season, hovering near .500 and at the top of the woeful Atlantic Division before losses in 17 of their last 20 games has put them back in position for the draft lottery.

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