Pierce, traded to Brooklyn with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry as part of a nine-player, three-draft pick blockbuster swap this offseason, circled the room to greet former teammates as well as team staffers. After spending the first 15 years of his NBA career with the Celtics, Pierce will play against the team he helped to a world title in 2008 for the first time on Tuesday night.
Pierce did not talk to reporters before Tuesday's game. Former teammate Jeff Green said it was good to see Pierce again, but remained focused on the game.
"He’s got to go do what he’s got to do, but it’s good to see his face," Green said. "I haven’t seen him in a while."
Nets coach Jason Kidd admitted it will be different for Pierce seeing the Celtics on the visitor's side.
"Probably seeing that green jersey on the other side will kind of be different," Kidd said. "But I think he is a professional and he will handle it well."
Kidd also confirmed that Kevin Garnett (begrudgingly) would not play against Boston after suiting up for the first night of a back-to-back on Monday in Philadelphia. Garnett already balked once this preseason about being asked to sit out the second night of a back-to-back. Kidd said the conversation went only slightly better this time.
"When you talk about KG and just his will, he’s a professional, he loves to compete, and you love to have those guys on your team," Kidd said. "And any time there is a game, he wants to compete. But also for him, this is his night off."
As for having Pierce and Garnett on his roster after years of competing against the duo, Kidd offered, "I always respected those two playing with KG and playing against Paul. But now seeing them up close and their work ethic and coming to practice, if it is 10 [a.m.], they are there at 8:30. They are understanding what it takes to be a professional, but also to be great at their craft. I do respect them even more seeing it up close."
One other note from pregame:
* SAME STARTERS FOR C'S: The Celtics will stick with the same starting lineup from Saturday's win over the Knicks featuring Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Green, Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger. Asked if the team is getting more settled with their lineup, coach Brad Stevens said, "We could still get a number of different ways in either [the frontcourt or backcourt]. The one place that [Kris] Humphries hasn’t gotten a ton of run at is the 4, so hopefully we get him a little bit of that over the next two games. Obviously, things are not settled. But we had a better rhythm and we also had two groups that played well together last game, although our starting unit is small."