Chris Forsberg/ESPN Boston
For the first time in the 2010-11 season, the Celtics play at the Garden.In a preseason that takes Boston all over the Northeast (including stops in Manchester, N.H., Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto, and Hartford, Conn.), the Celtics play one of only two true home games Sunday night against the Raptors at TD Garden.
"It will be great to be in front of our fans," said captain Paul Pierce. "They've waited [since June and the NBA] Finals. It's good to get back home and try to get some dominance there this year. We struggled there a year ago, so it'll be nice to get off to a good start."
The Celtics were a mere 24-17 at home during the 2009-10 campaign, this after losing just six games at the Garden in each of the previous two seasons. Pierce and his teammates have made reasserting a homecourt advantage a point of emphasis this preseason, especially after a series of head-shaking losses on their home turf last year that left fans booing defeats to the likes of the New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards.
"It's good to finally get a real home game," said Kevin Garnett. "To be in the building is always good. The fans are crazy in the Garden, good or bad, boos and all. It's always good to be home."
The Celtics are 2-0 on the preseason after opening up with wins against the 76ers and Nets. Jermaine O'Neal is hoping to make his exhibition debut this evening, while Delonte West is expected to play despite leaving Thursday's game against New Jersey in the second half with tension in his back.