The Red Sox will dominate the headlines around Boston today and tomorrow and everyday until they either win seven more games or they're eliminated. In the meantime, the Pats, Bruins and, believe it or not, even Celtics preseason basketball will take a back seat.
But tonight, as the Sox mess around with the Tigers in Detroit, the Celtics will suit up for what is easily one of the weirdest and most emotionally confusing preseason games in the franchise’s storied history:
Kris Humphries’ long awaited return to Brooklyn!
Shut up. We’re talking about Paul Pierce. He’ll be in the starting line-up.
The Nets’ starting lineup.
Playing against the Boston Celtics.
Again, that’s Paul Pierce.
The pre-season’s been pretty uneventful so far for the Truth. He recorded three points and four fouls over 12 minutes in the opener. He scored five points over 14 minutes in Game 2. Then he sat out Brooklyn’s third and most recent preseason contest due to “personal reasons.”
But he’ll be out there tonight. And while I imagine it will be somewhat emotional, facing the Celtics for the first time in his life, I’m guessing some of that emotion will be neutralized by the fact that the team Pierce will see barely resembles the one he left. The head coach and the majority of his assistants are gone. Rajon Rondo won’t be out there, either.
In fact, there are only three guys on the Celtics active roster with whom Pierce played with for more than even one season: Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green — who admitted early this week that he hasn’t spoken to Pierce, Garnett or Terry since the trade, which should tell you something about those relationships when everyone was here.
So yeah, Paul will probably hold it together. No doubt he’s saving that emotional outburst for January 26, when he and KG (who’s out tonight) come back to Boston for real. When it counts. And truly, that’s the one we’re all waiting for. It’s bad enough to watch Pierce playing for another team, it’s even worse to watch him do so amidst the sad back and forth of sloppy preseason game. Who wants to see him like that?
In that case, as we know, “personal reasons” is a perfectly legitimate reason to skip out on NBA preseason action.
“Red Sox reasons” works, too.