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BOSTON (CBS) – Opening night of the 2012-13 NBA season will be a little odd for Celtics captain Paul Pierce.
When the C’s take the court in Miami, it’s bad enough they’ll have to watch the team that sent them home last season raise a championship banner.
But the hardest part for Pierce, and most of his Celtics teammates, will be seeing Ray Allen standing on the other side of the court.
“It’s going to be weird,” Pierce said of seeing Allen as a member of the Miami Heat in a video interview for Celtics.com. “Ray made the best decision for him. That’s what it’s pretty much all about. You get in these situations in free agency, you make the best decision for you and your family.”
“Ray will always be a brother for me,” said Pierce. “If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have a championship ring. The things he’s been able to for this organization will never be forgotten.”
“I’m still a little bitter, but we’re still brothers,” Pierce added.
The departure of Allen stung a bit for the Celtics, but Pierce likes the what team president Danny Ainge has done this offseason; restocking for another title run with a core of Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.
“I love what Danny’s been able to do,” Pierce said. “It was a tough decision this summer. I know a lot was riding on what direction we were going to head and I think it was domino effect. Once we signed Kevin we knew we were going to try to make another run at it. Once we signed him a number of guys were able to jump on board.
“I thought Danny did a good job of trying to replace Ray Allen,” he said. “I think the guys that are coming in here with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, trying to get a healthy Jeff Green, even some of our rookies, I think we’ve added a lot more depth and it’s going to really take a lot of pressure off of me I think this upcoming season.”
Pierce is extremely happy to have Terry in the mix after years of admiration from afar.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Jason Terry’s,” he said. “I just think playing against him in college a couple of years and just watching his NBA career flourish over the years, then winning a championship and just bringing that element to our ballclub now.
“He’s one of the best sixth men all-time to ever play the game,” Pierce said of Terry. “That’s something we were lacking a year ago and that’s only due to injuries. Hopefully he can bring that and the consistency — that championship experience — so that we can get back to where we were a few years ago.”
As for Pierce himself, he said his sprained MCL is getting better. The injury, which he said hampered him in the final 10-15 games of the playoffs, is healing, but still isn’t 100-percent.
“The knee is a lot better,” Pierce said. “It’s not completely healed, but I figure I’m about 90-percent now so I’ve been doing lot of things to strengthen it so I can come back a stronger player.”