This trip back to Boston a little less emotional for Nets' Paul Pierce

Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce, center, formerly of

Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce, center, formerly of the Boston Celtics, salutes the crowd during a tribute to him in the first half. (Jan. 26, 2014) (Credit: AP)

There won't be a gaggle of television cameras dotting the bowels of TD Garden, documenting every possible second and beaming it to a national audience.

No tear-jerking video montage. No near wrong turns into the home locker room.

When Paul Pierce sets foot in the building he used to call home Friday night and sees familiar faces and those famed green jerseys, it won't feel the way it did during that jittery, unforgettable Jan. 26 experience.

This time it should be a bit easier to cope with the roller coaster of emotions flowing through those veins that bled Celtic green for all those years.

"I think as long I'm in the NBA, it's still going to be a little emotional for me," Pierce said after the Nets' 103-94 win over the Grizzlies on Wednesday, which put them over .500 for the first time this season.

"I played so many regular-season games, so many big games on that floor, so many memories that are never going to go away on that floor," he said. "So it's still going to be a little emotional. Probably not as much, but when you have those memories, it's tough to let it go."

That's why the Nets' previous trip to Boston was the toughest game Pierce ever played. He moved as if he were in a fog at times, scoring only six points. He hit a big jumper with 2:38 left that gave the Nets an eight-point edge but said it was extremely tough to get into his usual focused zone.

Opposing players don't typically get showered with more love than the home team. But that's what happened with Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Each had a tribute, bringing back visions of the 2008 championship journey. Garnett is out with back spasms and won't make the trip to Boston this time.

"I think a lot of those emotions will still be there," said Jason Collins, who played with both for Boston last season. "But it's good that they already have made the trip there. I, too, being a former Celtic, I'm looking forward to going back and seeing a bunch of people there. So it'll be one of those things where you really have to focus on the game when the ball gets tipped up in the air."

Garnett hasn't played since first experiencing the back spasms eight days ago.

"It's tough for him," Pierce said. "We had a chance to see him get out on the [practice] court, do some extra stuff [Wednesday at shootaround]. But he's a competitor. He hates to sit out. But the good thing about it, we need him to get his rest so he can come back full strength."

Notes & quotes: The Nets signed point guard Jorge Gutierrez to a 10-day contract.

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