KG tapped his heart repeatedly during the long ovation following his introduction.
Late in the first quarter came the video for KG, highlighted by his famous guttural “anything’s possible” roar after the C’s got the Lakers to quit in the sixth and deciding game of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Pierce was here for 15 years and his 1,102 regular-season games in green trail only John Havlicek and Robert Parish and is a full 131 more than Kevin McHale in fourth. So for all those years and all those points (24,021 and 2,843 in the playoffs), the franchise and its video crew had to get it right.
An irate Jack Nicholson/Colonel Nathan R. Jessup screamed, “You can’t handle the Truth!”
They used the old Pierce footage imploring the Garden fans, “Let me feel it!”
There was a young Pierce side-by-side with a young Antoine Walker and so many of the great plays. Pierce bowed and clapped on the Nets sidelines while the highlights rolled.
He voiced to the appreciative crowd, “I love you guys. I love you.”
Last night’s game and this season have shown their careers are nearing an end. Both scored just six points. Both have been disappointing, although it may have been foolhardy to think a 37-year-old KG and a 36-year-old Pierce could team with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez to lead the Nets to a title.
But last night was all about memories and nostalgia and a special New Big 3 era, not about each franchise’s current struggles.
KG, who fittingly had the play of the game with a late steal and creaky coast-to-coast drive, summed up the night:
“People always say players can be too loyal,” he said. “I don’t believe that. A city like Boston is worth it. Tonight’s the epitome of all that.”