Stiemsma shines in return to Boston

Stiemsma shines in return to Boston
January 4, 2014, 12:30 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON — It has been a couple years since Greg Stiemsma donned a Boston Celtics jersey, but it was clear he was in a comfort zone playing at the TD Garden.

Stiemsma, who came into Friday's game for New Orleans having scored a total of 16 points this season, added another 12 on 6-for-7 shooting in helping the Pelicans knock off the Celtics 95-92.

Prior to the game, Stiemsma made small talk with some of the familiar faces from his one season in Boston, like the team's strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo.

"This is where it all started for me," Stiemsma told CSNNE.com. "I'm really appreciative of the fans of their support while I was here."

Stiemsma's time in Boston was truly unexpected on so many levels.

He was a last-minute invite to training camp, brought in essentially to be another big, warm body in practice as the Celtics geared up for the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season.

After doing enough to impress the Celtics to keep him around for the start of the regular season, it was the third regular season game against his current team, New Orleans, that changed his life forever.

Boston lost that game 97-78, but Stiemsma came off the bench to block six shots, which caught the eye of both the coaching staff and fans. He would go on to block at least one shot in Boston's next four games.

As Stiemsma's shot block tally grew, so did Celtics Nation's love for "the Stiemer."

Sitting at his locker stall prior to Friday night's game, he couldn't help but smile when he reflected upon his first season that season with the Celtics, his first in the NBA.

"Coming to the city, or even driving to the hotel (Thursday) night, just brings back a lot of memories being around town," Stiemsma said. "Wherever I go, people still remember me from here first. Celtics fans are all over the world. They've been great fans to me ... definitely a lot of good memories back here."