BOSTON — The atmosphere became a little dusty (and really loud) in TD Garden on Sunday.
That was to be expected, as Los Angeles Clippers forward and Celtics legend Paul Pierce was making his final appearance in Boston before he retires at the end of the season.
Pierce admitted he’d probably become emotional playing for the last time in the building where his NBA career started with the Celtics exactly 18 years ago and he was right. Clippers coach Doc Rivers put Pierce in the starting lineup, allowing “The Truth” to receive a rousing ovation from the Boston faithful as he was introduced.
Pierce, who spent 15 of his 19 seasons in Boston, performed a special ritual one last time before tip-off.
Pierce exited the game during a timeout five minutes into the first quarter, at which point TD Garden paid a tribute to him on the JumboTron. What followed was a full three minutes of thunderous applause for the 39-year-old, who couldn’t hold back tears as the crowd showed him love.
The TD Garden crowd capped off the special moment by chanting, “Thank you Paul Pierce” as play continued after his tribute.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images