There's no way around the awkwardness of this situation. The preseason schedules were arranged over a year ago, long before anyone understood what kind of emotional magnitude these matchups might have. The games are clearly meaningless in the record books, but both teams are looking to establish some kind of rhythm for the season and Tuesday's game will be dominated by the storyline of the former Celtics playing against Boston.
Of course we don't really know yet if they'll actually be playing or just watching from the bench or perhaps even from home. Obviously it isn't likely that Pierce or Garnett will play the preseason game in Boston. I'm just not sure if they'll elect to skip the game in Brooklyn tomorrow as well.
Pierce has talked previously about the emotions he'll have returning to Boston, suggesting he's unlikely to accompany the Nets when they visit TD Garden on Oct. 23 for another exhibition tilt. No, Pierce plans to wait until the first regular-season meeting here on Jan. 26 to purge those emotions. Pierce, who will sit out the Nets' game Monday in Philadelphia, could suit up against his former team on Tuesday, but he'll see plenty of new faces on the other side. If Garnett plays on Monday, it will be interesting to see if he takes the night off against Boston on the tail end of a back-to-back.
UPDATE: Pierce will play, Garnett will not.
Kidd said Pierce, who rested Monday and did not travel with the team to Philadelphia, will play Tuesday.
Also, Garnett doesn't sound pleased about not playing.
"It wasn’t my decision. So that’s where I’m going to leave that," said Garnett, after the Sixer game. "I am trying to be as positive as I can be. This is not up to me, and I’m being positive. I’m trying to listen and go with the plan that was laid out for me, and being positive with that, so I’m trusting [Nets coach] Jason [Kidd] and what he has in store for myself and I’m going to embrace it."
If I had my choice, I'd kindly ask Coach Kidd to sit them both for both contests. Chalk it up to giving them extra rest heading into the season.
That way we can focus on giving a hat tip to Jason Terry and maybe giving the former Nets a chance to talk wistfully about Brooklyn and New Jersey and all that. That's good preseason fodder.
Save the return of the legends for the regular season, where we can give them a right and proper standing ovation.