Stevens: 'Emotional tugs' in Pierce, Garnett return

Stevens: 'Emotional tugs' in Pierce, Garnett return
January 26, 2014, 11:45 am
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Brad Stevens hopes his team will will treat Sunday's game like any other, but he knows it will be emotional for some.

TD Garden will roll out the red carpet for both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as they play in their first game in Boston since being traded to the Nets last offseason.

"I'm sure," Stevens told Comcast SportsNet's Abby Chin, "there will be a few emotional tugs within our team with the guys on our team who played with and/or coached them."

That won't be the case for Stevens, who was still head coach at Butler University the last time Pierce and Garnett donned Celtics green. His task is to keep his team focused despite the pregame festivities and surrounding commotion designed to celebrate the two future Hall of Famers.

"We're gonna approach it like any other game," Stevens said, "and obviously mindful of all that all those guys did for Boston and the Celtics, obviously Pierce being here the longest and Garnett's impact when he came here in 2007-08."

It's an interesting balance for Stevens and the rest of the Celtics to strike. They want to feel as though they throw a proper homecoming, yet at the same time, there is a game to be played.

"I think they'll feel extremely welcomed by everybody, as they should" Stevens said. "But our job is to compete and our job is to play a basketball game and to do the best we can in that game. We'll keep our attention there."