An emotional week ahead for the Celtics

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This week was circled on our calendars the day we go the schedule.

Tuesday night the Celtics head to Brooklyn to play the Nets. Paul Pierce won't be playing as he recovers from a fractured hand, but Kevin Garnett will be there.

To say things haven't gone well for our beloved ex-Celtics is putting it rather mildly. The Nets are currently 6-14, riddled with injuries, and struggling with their identity. Kidd, who was playing a year ago, has essentially fired his top assistant Lawrence Frank (the guy that was supposed to provide experience and guidance to Kidd.) They were trounced by the Knicks (who the Celtics just trounced) and generally if something could have gone wrong this year, it has.

All of which isn't sitting too well with The Truth.

It hasn’t gone as expected for ex-Celtics Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn - Sports - The Boston Globe

Those close to the Nets intimate that Pierce has lost his passion, still stunned from his departure from Boston and the only team he ever knew, while Garnett is no better than a backup at this stage of his career. Pierce won’t face the Celtics Tuesday night because of a fractured right hand and Terry remains out following offseason knee surgery, leaving Garnett on an island to determine the cause and the solution for the disastrous start.

I can't even tell you how sad I am to hear this about Paul and Kevin.

Clearly the Celtics got a great value in return for those two. It is getting better by the day too. Not just short term, but long term, if the wheels really come off that could be wonderful for the draft picks down the line. Of course that's looking ahead a bit far.

In the immediate future, things aren't looking so great for Pierce and Garnett. I could see KG turning his season around and looking like the Kevin of old for a few stretches. I could also see him being just the Kevin... old. He might just finish out the year and retire on the last day of the season. That would be a sad end to a glorious career, but one way or the other he's going to make up his mind on his own in his own way and I have to respect him for that.

I haven't watched a lot of Brooklyn games myself, but by several accounts, Pierce too has also looked a step or two slow. I hope Gary Washburn's sources are wrong and they are just mis-reading Paul, but I guess I could see the losing wearing on him. After all, the only reason he kinda-sorta felt ok with leaving Boston was for one more shot at a title. To have that title chance burn up before the season even reached the quarter mark must be really, really hard for him to fight through. Now with an injury he can't get out there and channel his energy into making it right again. That has to be frustrating.

The Cetics, on the other hand, have largely moved on. We of course miss Paul and will give him all the love we can when the Nets come to Boston. But we're enjoying the Brad Stevens era and we are smacking our lips at the prospect of all those picks helping the rebuilding efforts.

Still, the trip down memory lane doesn't end there. The Clippers come to town on Wednesday which means Doc Rivers will be back in town. His exit from Boston was about as surreal and odd as it gets. It was drawn out over several weeks with off again, on again, shifting parts and rumored deals smacked down by the league. Then it finally happened, the Celtics got a future first round pick out of it, and everything was settled. Until, that is, Doc kept talking about it and Bill Simmons got involved, and Doc kept talking about it and talking about it and so forth.

All that seems to have died down for the most part and Doc has found some of the success he was seeking in Los Angles (with a 13 - 8 record and sitting atop the Pacific Division). But you can be sure that the questions about Boston will come up early and often and the usually media-savvy Rivers will gracefully answer every one the best he can.

At the end of it all, he was integral to the Celtics winning a Championship and sustaining the top competitor status the team enjoyed during the KG era. So I, for one, will be giving him my own personal standing ovation from my couch and I hope that the majority of fans both in the arena and around the country follow suit. But I'm sure some will harbor some jilted feelings and express themselves as they see fit. That happens.

On the court it will be an interesting challenge for Brad Stevens and his surprisingly prosperous charges. Will the new boss beat the new boss or will the collective talent assembled under Doc be too much for the young Celtics to overcome? It will certainly be an interesting matchup.

Oh yeah, and the Knicks will be coming to town on Friday. You know, the same team we just beat by 41 which happens to be a long time division rival that knocked us from the playoffs last year? Yeah, that could be interesting as well. But one game at a time.

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