In Part 2 of a SportsCenter conversation, ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan talks to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett about their final days in Boston, leaving Rajon Rondo behind, and their favorite Celtics memories.
"I knew the writing was on the wall, you kinda felt it coming," Pierce said of Boston's decision to start the rebuilding process this summer. "I think, toward the end of the [2012-13 season], even before the playoffs started, you looked at the team and, when I was on the bench, you looked down and see the players down there, you start looking towards the future and you see the guys they are bringing in. Me and Kevin talked about it all the time, me and him discussed that this may be our last year in Boston. Then when I started looking, and I was like, 'Doc is leaving?' I've always said, I don't want to play for any other coach at this stage of my career. When I saw all of that going down, I pretty much knew my time was up."
As for their favorite memories in Boston?
"You're talking about 15 years of memories, there's going to be a lot of things," said Pierce. "Ultimately, just winning the championship [in 2008], that whole parade. There's so many things I'm going to miss, the clam chowder. These are my lasting memories right here."
Garnett told the often-recalled story of how, after a game against the Lakers midway through the 2010 campaign, coach Doc Rivers demanded $100 from every player and staff member on the team, then crammed an envelope with $2,600 into the ceiling tiles at the Staples Center and told his players in order to get it back they'd have to make it to the NBA Finals against the Lakers. The Celtics did just that.
"We all looked at each other -- we're not playing well at this time," recalled Garnett. "Subconsciously, it did something to you. As we kept going, [the players said to each other], 'Hey remember that money? We gotta get back, get that bread in the ceiling. Remember that.' The second half comes, we're rolling, picking up momentum, and the next thing you know we're in the Finals. And the first thing when we got to Lakers' locker room, 'The money, the money, the money!' That mood in locker room was crazy. It was still there. And I thought, that was a sign we were going to win, you just felt that. But regrets are like you said, regrets."
The Celtics lost in seven games to the Lakers in 2010, preventing Boston from capturing another title. Now Garnett and Pierce are banking that they can get that elusive second championship together in Brooklyn.