Make sure to mark January 26 down on your calendar.
For once, the on-court action between these two Atlantic Division rivals will only be the side story. The dominating storyline will come from the type of reception Pierce and Garnett, two of the “Big Three” that helped lead the Celtics to a championship in 2008, receive from the Boston faithful during the announcement of the starting lineups, the moments just before tipoff and every time they touch the ball/score.
And since neither Pierce nor Garnett attempted to bolt out of Boston once the organization embarked on a rebuilding era this offseason, they should both be welcomed with long, emotional standing ovations before the game. The same should apply on their first free-throw attempts as well. But once either of them scores the love-fest is likely to cease.
Expect those players to be just as emotional as the fans. Garnett only joined the Celtics in 2007, but he’s never been one to hold anything inside. It will be even more moving for Pierce, who played on both awful and outstanding Celtics teams, and was expected by many to finish his career with the franchise.
What will be witnessed before that matchup is the ultimate display of respect and gratitude. Thankfully it will be a ationally televised game that everyone will be able to take in.
Don’t forget to tune in.