BOSTON -- Delonte West scored the first basket of the game and, 48 minutes later, stole the final pass.
He put his mark on his first return to the TD Garden since signing with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason and helped his new squad defeat his former team, 90-85, on Wednesday night.
For me, its always tough to come here and play, West told CSNNE.com after the game. You think its easy, but its always tough not because you dont want to go hard against your old team, its just, I dont know. Its always hard going on the opposing side in the Garden. Its tough shooting at that away basket first.
West, who has two stints with the Celtics over his career, wanted to play another season in Boston but was not surprised at how free agency played out. In December, Celtics acquired veteran Keyon Dooling to play the backup point guard and shooting guard roles. While West would have welcomed another run with the Cs, he had other options as well.
Youre talking about the Boston Celtics, West said before the game. Youre talking about Bill Russell and Red Auerbach. Spots fill up real quickly over there. It wasnt like I didnt have a few options myself. I had the Los Angeles Lakers knocking on my door and the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics. It was kind of hard for me to choose myself. But like I said, on teams like that roster spots fill up very quickly and this isnt my first rodeo. Ive been in this locker room before and its a crazy league. You never know where you end up.
He added, Things fill up quickly. With the free agency period with the Chris Paul talks and this and that, me being a guard, a lot of mine was on hold. But thats ok. I ended up in a good spot.
West looks to bounce back from a season hampered by injuries in which he appeared in just 24 games. This year he is embracing his new team, and his teammates and coach are doing the same.
Hes active, hes not scared, he competes on every play, hes tough in the post, hes got great hands, great anticipation, and he just plays hard, said Dirk Nowitzki. He really sets a great tone for the whole team because he competes in every play.
Said head coach Rick Carlisle, Delonte West flat out competes all the time.
West was feeling so good after the Mavericks win that a hit to the face that required stitches on his nose didnt bother him.
I kind of took a jab there underneath the eye, he said. My face was a little bruised right now, but in the grand scheme of things that punch kind of snapped me back into things. I dont know who it was or when, but it felt great. It took me back to the playground when somebody would sneak a punch at you. It felt great. I had to catch myself. I was about to play playground basketball for a minute.