(BOSTON) — It was just another game for the Brooklyn Nets, but for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Sunday night’s contest against the Boston Celtics was about way more than basketball.
Pierce and Garnett returned to Boston for the first time since the July blockbuster trade that sent them to the Nets. Afterwards, both future Hall of Famers said this was the toughest game they’ve ever had to play.
“It was tougher than any championship game. Tougher than any Game 7,” Pierce said after the Nets topped the Celtics 85-79. “This game was just so hard to really just focus and concentrate on what was at hand.”
Pierce played the first 15 seasons of his career in Boston, becoming the second all-time leading scorer in franchise history behind only John Havlicek.
“This was by far the hardest day I’ve had to focus,” added Garnett. “This was bigger than Minnesota, even when I went back to Minnesota.”
Garnett played six seasons in Boston but he made a huge impact the second he got there. The Celtics won the NBA championship in 2007-08, the first season Pierce and Garnett came together.
Both Pierce and Garnett have played a vital role in Brooklyn’s turnaround. The team started the season 10-21, but have gone 10-1 in 2014.
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN