BOSTON (CBS) – When it comes to playoff basketball, it’s tough to find a louder atmosphere than the TD Garden. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett got to experience the intensity of it firsthand during the past six seasons in Boston.
The pair hoped they could get a taste of that same kind of enthusiasm as Brooklyn hosted its first playoff game ever Friday night against the Toronto Raptors. The entire NBA world was watching closely after Toronto’s GM Masai Ujiri made his controversial “F— Brooklyn” remarks prior to Game 1.
Ujiri was in the Barclays Center for Game 3 and Garnett made sure that everyone in the arena for the contest didn’t forget about his remarks from last week.
“I’m very eager to see how (the home crowd) responds to the ‘F—- Brooklyn,’ ” Garnett said on Thursday to the New York Daily News. “Very eager to see how they respond to this kid (Ujiri) sitting in our arena…I never had a series in Brooklyn before, I never said ‘F— Brooklyn’ before, so we’re about to see what it’s like.”
If Ujiri had made comments like that about Boston and arrived at the TD Garden, it probably would have caused close to a riot. Come last night’s 7 p.m. tipoff, Brooklyn fans did not come close to matching Garnett’s expectations.
The Barclays Center looked half empty for the start of the contest, and the crowd noise early made it sound like it was just a random regular season game on a Wednesday night rather than a pivotal Game 3 of a playoff series.
Pierce called out the Brooklyn fans on this after the game to the New York Daily News.
“Eventually they got into it. Hopefully the next game, they’ll be better from the start. We want to come out from the jump and have them in the game. It shouldn’t take a big play from us.”
It ended up being a pair of plays from the former Boston duo that finally got the Brooklyn crowd into the game during the second quarter. First, Paul Pierce crossed over Toronto’s Tyler Hansborough for a one-handed slam.
Then, Kevin Garnett dove on the floor for a loose ball and emerged in classic-KG form by yelling at the crowd and holding up his Brooklyn jersey as the crowd erupted.
It was refreshing to see both guys still have enough in the tank to put together moments like this, helping the Nets defeat the Raptors 102-98 last night and take a 2-1 series lead.
Still, as Boston fans root on the two former Celtics from afar, it’s clear that Pierce and Garnett have high expectations for their new home crowd, expectations that were created in Boston.
Games like Friday night must surely make Garnett and Pierce appreciate the incredible atmosphere they had in Boston that much more.
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