Celtics fans need to wait until the end of January to express their appreciation to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but in just two days they get to show Doc Rivers how much they appreciate what he did for the Boston franchise.
And they absolutely should show that appreciation, according to Pierce.
“I think he’s going to get a standing ovation,” Pierce told reporters in Brooklyn, where the Celtics will face their former star’s new team on Tuesday. “For what he’s been able to bring to the organization over the last nine years, yeah. To bring a championship, to almost bring another one. He should receive a standing ovation. Ray [Allen] got one, the former players on that championship team got one. Doc deserves an ovation for being able to change the culture and the things he did for the Boston organization.”
“I’ll be very surprised at the Boston fans if it wasn’t that way,” Pierce added, according to MassLive.com. “That’s not Boston fans.”
Allen’s reception from Celtics fans was mixed at best when he returned as a member of the Heat last season, but Pierce’s overall point stands. Rivers departed Boston this summer after a drawn-out process that ended with him being released from his contract in exchange for the Clippers’ 2015 first-round draft pick. Pierce and Garnett were traded to Brooklyn, along with Jason Terry, in a blockbuster deal that sent Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three first-round draft picks.
The Celtics kick off their reunion week by playing Garnett and the Nets at the Barclays Center on Tuesday; Pierce’s status with a broken right hand is uncertain. Rivers and the Clippers then visit TD Garden on Wednesday for the coach’s first and only trip to Boston this season.
The Clippers have mostly fulfilled expectations, going 13-8 and owning first place in the Pacific Division. The Nets have been a severe disappointment, falling to 6-14, third-worst in the Eastern Conference.
Pierce also said he still believes the Nets are title contenders, that Nets assistant Lawrence Frank continues to work hard in his Jason Kidd-imposed exile and that he hasn’t thought about whether he will play past this season, when his contract expires. All of that is covered in the story linked above.