It was an emotional night in the TD Garden, as future Hall of Famers (and players whose numbers will soon be retired in the rafters) Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett made their first appearance in Boston Garden since being traded to the Brooklyn Nets during the offseason.
This game almost had it all, since it featured not one but two video tributes to the two players who helped bring banner number 17 to the Garden, a near triple-double by Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, a clutch shot by The Truth in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and a turn-back-the-clock steal and coast-to-coast layup by KG that helped seal the victory for the Nets.
Unfortunately, what the game DID NOT feature was anything resembling well-played or even interesting basketball. The two teams bricked their way to a 28 point first quarter, with Brooklyn managing only 11 points to Boston’s 17. By the end of the first half, the Nets held a 35-34 lead, and I joked on Twitter that the first team to hit 70 was going to win.
Joke’s on me, because I was right.
How terrible were these two teams? Neither team shot 40% from the field. Neither team hit 30% of their three-point attempts. Neither team featured a player who scored over 20 points. Neither team looked like they really were ready to play NBA basketball, basically, although I bet they could have entertained a D-League crowd just fine. It was just sloppy, ugly basketball. I’m sure the emotions that accompanied this evening had something to do with that, but there are an awful lot of players from both teams who really have no connection to the history that Pierce and Garnett made in Boston, so “high emotions” cannot be blamed for the sad display of basketball we were treated to this evening.
Still, as I alluded to earlier, this night was really about more than just the game the two teams played. As a Celtics fan, I was happy to see Rajon Rondo begin to resemble his old self a little bit more. He played 30 minutes on the evening, and was good for 13 points (including a few three pointers, surprise surprise!), 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. He was +1 on the evening, a,d even though he had 6 turnovers he still looked more like “Rajon Rondo” than he has in the other games he played following his return.
Perhaps even more importantly, it was nice to see KG and The Truth return to the hardwood at the TD Garden. As painful as it is to see these two guys wearing Nets jerseys, I enjoyed watching them and really appreciated the tributes the folks in the Boston Celtics organization put together for them. I’ll leave you with each of these videos, so you can enjoy some memories of these two legends as often as you want! Thanks for the read, everyone.