The Grizzlies-Celtics matchup was almost secondary to another attraction at TD Garden on Sunday night.

Marcus Smart, who played the first nine seasons of his NBA career in Boston, made his first stop on Causeway Street as a visiting player. The Celtics dealt Smart to Memphis in late June in a three-team trade that brought Kristaps Porizingis to the C’s.

Smart wasn’t able to play against his former teammates due to injury, but the Celtics still honored the veteran guard with a tribute video and raucous ovations. Knowing a lovefest was in store, Jayson Tatum before the game asked Smart if he was going to cry during the homecoming festivities, per NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin.

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The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year managed to keep it together as he was celebrated by his former team and fan base, which “surprised” Tatum. And how could the Celtics franchise cornerstone not feel that way? After all, Smart playing with overt emotions and his heart on his sleeve is part of the reason why he became such a fan favorite in Boston.

Smart’s Grizzlies ended up suffering a whopping 40-point loss thanks in large part to Tatum’s game-high 34 points. But when the hard-nosed guard looks back on his special night in the years to come, he probably won’t even remember the result of the game.

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Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images