NEW YORK –- Doc Rivers was as emotional as he has ever been after seeing the outpouring of love he received from Celtics fans during his return to Boston in early December.
"That's going to be awesome," Rivers said before his Clippers faced the Knicks at the Garden on Friday. "It's going to be crazy. It's going to be awesome for them."
The Nets played the Celtics in the preseason at the TD Garden on Oct. 23, but Pierce and Garnett rested and did not play. Both former Celtics will surely be overwhelmed with emotion in their return to Boston.
Rivers immediately drew an ovation from Boston fans when he emerged from the visitor's tunnel at the TD Garden during his return with the Clippers on Dec. 11. There was a video tribute to Rivers with highlights of the 2008 Celtics title team during the second quarter.
Rivers was still trying to compose himself when talking to reporters well after the game that night.
"Yeah, that's as emotional as I ever [been]," Rivers said. "And that was an amazing night for me. It was awesome."
Rivers said he could only imagine what it will be like for his two former players, especially Pierce, who spent his entire career with the Celtics until a trade to the Nets last summer.
"Paul spent his whole career there and never really wanted to leave," Rivers said. "That will be a neat evening for them, and again, especially for Paul."
Rivers said he expected Celtics fans to give Pierce and Garnett a night they will never forget.
"I think the reason the city loved them both is because they did it right and they did everything they could every night to win a basketball game," Rivers said. "Cities feel that. New York is like that. New York, they say white collar, it's blue collar. You know what I mean? People see that.
"And they saw that in Kevin and Paul. And they were champions. So when you do that for a city, it is going to be received well so they will have a great night."