At around 2:00 PM yesterday, the Jam was blessed with a ticket to the Nets v. Celtics match-up that featured Paul Pierce and KG returning to Boston. And by blessed I mean my good friend’s girlfriend was too hungover to get out of bed from the night before so I was the alternate guest.
The Jam’s coverage of the Celtics this year has been relatively light, mainly due to the team’s flaccid roster and “tank” mentality. But if there was any game to cover and talk about, it’s this one.
The buzz in the garden was unusual. Unlike any game this year. To put it simply, it felt important. Contrast to a normal game when you would be depressed going up the escalator, seeing life size cut outs of the “new” Celtics like Jeff Green.
When I found my seats 10 minutes before game time, the place was packed and everyone was standing. Literally every person in the arena was standing, screaming at Paul and KG warming up. It seemed like there was extra lighting on the Nets side of the court trying to showcase the two former Celtics. But from my point of view it just highlighted Pierce’s poor facial hair. Wow have I missed that patchy, scraggly, stuff.
Sidebar: Before I continue, just to let you know how important and meaningful Paul Pierce has been in my life, see my all time Boston Sports Athletes Power Rankings:
1. Paul Pierce
2. Tom Brady
3. Manny Ramirez
Everyone knew there were tributes coming. During the nets starting lineup announcements, KG and Paul Pierce received back to back roaring standing ovations. It’s been a while since that building has heard cheers of that volume. And probably won’t happen again until sometime next year (Kevin Love to Boston in 2015).
The game started and was underway. A classic novel worthy battle of two struggling NBA teams gutting it out. Within the first minute, Pierce spotted up for one of his classic push three jumpers from almost straight on with crowd rising screaming “Pieeeerce” in unison. Clang off the back iron. The guy does not move well now a days.
After the first break in play, KG’s tribute showed up on the jumbotron. It was awesome but not to take anything away from KG but the night belonged to Paul. The game resumed and the following break, this happened:
The main objective here was to avoid eye contact with my friend. Men, women, children were crying. Tears running down their faces. I tried to break up the emotions by pretending to take a sip out of my empty beer cup but that didn’t work. Pierce was straight up overwhelmed.
Pierce: "This was the toughest game I ever had to play. Tougher than any championship game. So hard to focus…you get showered with love."
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 27, 2014
After everything settled the game finally got into a flow. Well, semi flow. I looked up in the third quarter to only realize that the Celtics had 42 points on the board. God bless this 2014 team.
Ironically the game was sealed by a Garnett steal and bucket in the fourth quarter. It didn’t matter though. It was win-win night. Pierce and KG were celebrated to the tenth degree and the Celtics lost keeping their lottery hopes alive.
I’m just wondering where KG and Pierce went out in Boston after the game to celebrate. My money is on Coogans.