Tomorrow night the most anticipated game of the year takes place at TD Garden as the Brooklyn Nets and beloved Celtics for life Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett make their return.

The Celtic organization will commemorate the occasion by running two separate video tributes with Garnett's first (likely at the game's first timeout) then Pierce's (likely after the first quarter).

On this night one would think the game is almost an afterthought but the Celts don't see it that way according to ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg:
Rondo admitted that Pierce and Garnett laid the blueprint for how to be a successful team and taught him how to be a professional. But, like most of his teammates, the sight of those two players in Brooklyn's black-and-white uniforms is no longer staggering and Rondo is more focused on finding a way to slow an opponent that has won nine of its last 10 overall.

"Just like I played against [Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins on Friday] night," said Rondo. "There might be a lot of [expletive]-talking, but it’ll be fun. They are competitors, they compete. And I’ll do the same."

Truth be told, these Celtics players are rather divorced from the emotional aspect of Sunday's meeting and they are hoping to take advantage of any loss in focus for Pierce and Garnett.

"It's not a big deal for us; this is a big deal for [the media]," said Brandon Bass, who spent two years with Pierce and Garnett. "It’s more of a a big deal for Paul and Kevin, we understand that ... hopefully it helps us get a win. That’s what really matters for us."

As was implied in the quote, Brooklyn is currently the hottest team in the NBA and Pierce and Garnett somewhat finding their footing and roles with the team has a lot to do with that.

For January Pierce is averaging just under fourteen points a game although he is still struggling from deep where he is having one of the worst shooting seasons of his career at .326 (.293 in January).

Garnett too has struggled offensively but has picked it up in January shooting a scorching over 67% from the field for the month albeit in limited attempts.

As always, however, KG has been doing a lot of the little things leadership wise and defensively that don't necessarily show up in the box score.

Boston comes into the game after their most lackluster performance of the season and having lost 13 of 15.

A 101-83 drubbing by the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night in Boston.

My prediction:

The Celtics come out inspired and keep it close but ultimately Pierce and Garnett have a triumphant return to Boston.

Nets 107 Celtics 102

Follow Clint on Twitter @ClintCorey

Leave your own thoughts and predictions on the game in the comments below.

Clint Corey 1/25/2014 04:31:00 PM Edit
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