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Celtics welcome back Pierce, Garnett

By Chris Pike
27 January 2014 11:48PM EST

BOSTON gave the reception two of the Celtics' all-time greats Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett upon return on Sunday even if it meant they helped Brooklyn to victory in the NBA on Sunday.

There were eight matches in the NBA on Sunday with Miami beating San Antonio 113-101, New York beating the LA Lakers 110-103, New Orleans downing Orlando 100-92, Phoenix beating Cleveland 99-90, Brooklyn downing Boston 85-79, Dallas defeating Detroit 116-106, Golden State beating Portland 103-88 and Denver beating Sacramento 125-117.

Brooklyn beat Boston by six points on Sunday but that end result was almost irrelevant on a memorable and historic night at the TD Garden on Sunday.

For the first time ever, former Celtics captain, NBA finals MVP and championship-winning star Paul Pierce played in Boston on the opposing team after 1274 games in his career with his Brooklyn teammate, and fellow Celtics championship-winning forward Kevin Garnett joining him.

Pierce and Garnett played together in Boston for six seasons and were two of the most popular Celtics players of all-time with Garnett becoming the missing piece to the championship puzzle and Pierce putting together a career in green that is sure to have his No. 34 singlet hanging in the rafters.

It is the first time that Pierce and Garnett have returned to Boston since being traded to Brooklyn in June last year, along with Jason Terry, and the pair were greeted with standing ovations despite being on the opposing team and that continued throughout the match while video tributes were shown to them on the main screen.

Despite now wearing black, the Boston crowd will never forget what Pierce and Garnett did for the Celtics and they let them know that in no uncertain fashion on Sunday even if it meant seeing their current team lose.

Pierce had just six points, four rebounds and three assists for the Nets in what he admits was the toughest game he's ever had to play.

"This was the toughest game I ever had to play. It was tougher than any championship game or any game seven. This game was just really hard to focus and concentrate on what was at hand," Pierce said.

Garnett also had just six points, three rebounds and three assists for Brooklyn on a night that he also found difficult to keep his focus.

"I had lumps in my throat and I kept them under control and I focused as much as I could on the game and not take away from it, but man this was over the top. I couldn't put it into words."

Andray Blatche top-scored for the Nets with 17 points with Alan Anderson adding 11 and Andrei Kirilenko 11.

Brandon Bass top-scored for the Celtics with 17 points and eight rebounds while Rajon Rondo finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

San Antonio fell a game and-a-half behind Oklahoma City for top spot in the western conference after losing to two-time defending champions Miami on the road on Sunday by 12 points.

Chris Bosh again led the way for the Heat with 24 points and five rebounds while LeBron James finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Mario Chalmers also scored 16 points while Michael Beasley added 12 points, Norris Cole 11, Ray Allen 10 and Dwyane Wade eight to go with five assists as he came off the bench for the Heat for the first time in 483 games.

Tim Duncan led the way for the Spurs with 23 points while Boris Diaw added 15 points, Marco Belinelli 12 and point guard Tony Parker 11 to go with seven assists.

Australian guard Patty Mills finished with three points and two rebounds while big man Aron Baynes had six points, six rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes of court time.

New York scored another victory on the back of a big night again from Carmelo Anthony as the Knicks beat the Lakers by seven points at Madison Square Garden.

Coming off his record-setting 62-point night on Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats, Anthony added 35 points, five assists and four rebounds on Sunday to give him 97 points in back-to-back games to only narrowly fall short of the Knicks record of 103 set by Bernard King.

Raymond Felton also added 20 points and five assists for the Knicks while Tim Hardaway Jr scored 18 points, JR Smith 16 and Tyson Chandler 13 to go with 14 rebounds.

Jodie Meeks top-scored for the Lakers with 24 points while Pau Gasol added 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.

Manny Harris added 18 points off the bench while Nick Young scored 13 points and Kendall Marshall 12.

New Orleans won just its fifth game of the season when being outscored in the third quarter to beat Orlando at home by eight points on Sunday.

Tyreke Evans top-scored for the Pelicans with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists off the bench while Anthony Davis finishing with 22 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

Brian Roberts also had 15 points and Eric Gordon 14 for New Orleans.

Arron Afflalo top-scored for the Magic with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field with Victor Oladipo adding 18 points, Tobias Harris 17 and Jameer Nelson 15 to go with eight assists.

Phoenix held Cleveland to its lowest scoring quarter in almost 10 years with the Cavs managing just six points in the third quarter at home on Sunday as the Suns cruised to the nine-point victory after trailing by 18 points at half-time.

Markieff Morris top-scored off the bench for Phoenix with 27 points while pulling in a season-high 15 rebounds in the process.

Channing Frye also added 16 points for the Suns with Goran Dragic scoring 15 points, PJ Tucker 13 and Gerald Green 12.

Kyrie Irving led the way for the Cavs finishing with 24 points and nine assists while Luol Deng added 18 points, Tristan Thompson 17 and CJ Miles 12.

Dallas continued Detroit's poor run of form this season with the Mavericks cruising to a 10-point win at home on Sunday to improve to a 26-20 record on the season to sit in eighth position in the western conference.

Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the Mavs finishing with 28 points, nine rebounds and four assists on the back of 10-of-16 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point territory.

Jose Calderon also added 17 points and four assists for Dallas with Devin Harris scoring 14 points, Vince Carter 13 and Monta Ellis 11.

Brandon Jennings top-scored for the Pistons with 26 points and seven assists with Josh Smith scoring 25 points, Greg Monroe 20 and Rodney Stuckey 11.

Golden State scored an impressive 15-point win at home over the western conference's third-placed team on Portland on Sunday.

The Warriors kept the Trail Blazers to shooting a season-low 33.7 per cent from the field as well as season lows in points scored (88) and field goals made (28).

All-Star start Steph Curry had an outstanding night for Golden State finishing with 38 points, eight assists and seven rebounds on the back of shooting 13-of-23 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point territory.

Power forward David Lee also scored 17 points and had 12 rebounds for the Warriors while Klay Thompson scored 17 points and Andre Iguodala 12 to go with 10 boards and five assists.

Australian centre Andrew Bogut finished with four points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Wesley Matthews top-scored for the Blazers with 21 points while Damian Lillard scored 16 points, LaMarcus Aldridge 10 and Robin Lopez 10.

Denver then scored another impressive, high-scoring victory on the road scoring 125 points in Sacramento to beat the Kings by eight points.

Point guard Ty Lawson led the way for the Nuggets with 27 points and six assists with Wilson Chandler adding 20 points, Kenneth Faried 15, Timofey Mozgov 14, Randy Foye 12 and Nate Robinson 12.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Kings with 22 points and eight assists while Ben McLemore contributed 18 points, Marcus Thornton 19, Jason Thompson 13, Derrick Williams 12 and Travis Outlaw 10.

NBA Results Sunday January 26
San Antonio Spurs (33-11) 101 lost to Miami Heat (32-12) 113
Los Angeles Lakers (16-29) 103 lost to New York Knicks (17-27) 110
Orlando Magic (12-33) 92 lost to New Orleans Pelicans (18-25) 100
Phoenix Suns (25-18) 99 defeated Cleveland Cavaliers (16-28) 90
Brooklyn Nets (20-22) 85 defeated Boston Celtics (15-31) 79
Detroit Pistons (17-27) 106 defeated Dallas Mavericks (26-20) 116
Portland Trail Blazers (33-12) 88 lost to Golden State Warriors (27-18) 103
Denver Nuggets (22-21) 125 defeated Sacramento Kings (15-28) 117

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