The Boston Celtics (15-30, 9-13 home) host the Brooklyn Nets (19-22, 7-13 road) on Sunday evening at TD Garden (6:30 p.m., ESPN). Here's what to watch for:
WELCOME BACK: Bring your tissues, it's going to get a little dusty in TD Garden on Sunday night as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce play their first game here as visitors since being dealt to the Nets over the summer. The Celtics want to honor two players that brought championship basketball back to Boston, but they also want to win the game (and hope maybe the JumboTron tributes and adoring fans will help distract Garnett and Pierce for a bit).
NEW-LOOK NETS: ESPN Stats and Info notes: The Nets are a league-best 9-1 in January after entering the month 10-21. They are averaging 6.1 more points per 100 possessions during that stretch, while allowing 5.2 fewer per 100. And Jason Kidd has his team playing at a much slower tempo -- Brooklyn’s averaging just 90.5 possessions per 48 minutes this month after entering that stretch at 94.6 (league average is 96.4). Celtics coach Brad Stevens described how the Nets have morphed after losing Brook Lopez, and the Celtics might counter with a lineup swap (Brandon Bass return to starter?) to counter Brooklyn's versatility.
KG VS. BOSTON: More from ESPN Stats and Info: Kevin Garnett’s last game in Boston came on March 4, 2007. He registered a triple-double with 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Minnesota Timberwolves fell in double overtime, 124-117. For his career, Garnett has averaged 22.6 points and 10 rebounds in his career against the Celtics (1 of 3 players to average those marks against Boston since the ABA-NBA merger with Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal the others).