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Kendrick Perkins makes his triumphant return to the TD BankNorth Garden tonight when the Oklahoma City Thunder stop by to take on your Boston Celtics.

This will be Perkins’ first visit to the Garden as a member of the opposing team.

“I don’t know exactly what to expect going into tonight,’’ Perkins said. “It’s like up and down. You really want to come in and just focus on basketball and try to get the win, but at the same time, there’s going to be probably a lot of things going on.’’

As you may remember, Perkins, along with Nate Robinson, was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a 2012 first round pick. The trade ripped the heart out of Celtic Nation. Perkins was a longtime fan favorite and admired for his defense and toughness in the middle.

For a team that struggled to make an impact in the middle, the numbers simply did not add up. Krsitc and Green are fine players, but they failed to make the impact Perkins did and would have made on a nightly basis going forward.

Krstic has since become a free agent and now plays in Europe. Green was set back by a medical emergency and is now out for the year. There is still a slim hope that Green can return and dominate and that the pick could turn into something worthwhile. While these may be the views of an extreme optimist, it’s about all I can think of in order to put a positive spin on one of the worst trades in franchise history.

Perkins leads an 11-2 Thunder team into the place he called home for the first eight years of his NBA career. Doc Rivers, like everyone else, will surely have a difficult time seeing Perkins as an opposing player. “That will be tough for me, that will be different,’’ Rivers said about seeing Perkins as a member of the Thunder  “Perkins is a Celtic. I don’t care what uniform he has on. He’s a Celtic for life. And he knows that.’’

Fans will finally get an opportunity to thank Perkins for all that he did as a member of the Boston Celtics. He gave his heart and soul to this franchise and played the game the way it should be played. He played it like a Celtic!

Welcome back, old friend. Welcome back.

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Tags: Boston Celtics Contract Doc Rivers Kendrick Perkins Nate Robinson Oklahoma City Thunder TD Banknorth Trade

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