Celtics Ready For Emotional Return Home

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(credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

(credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been 16 days since the Boston Celtics played a game in front of their home crowd, and the city of Boston will never be the same.

Tragedy hit Boston on Marathon Monday, followed by a manhunt through the streets of Watertown later in the week. Through it all, the Celtics remained away from Boston — closing out the regular season on the road in Toronto and beginning their playoff series in New York – but watched as the city they played for went through these horrific events.

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The ‘Boston Stands as One’ patch on the jersey of Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics prior Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Knicks. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Bruins returned to action, with the fans joining together to sing the National Anthem. The Red Sox returned to Fenway, with David Ortiz delivering yet another rallying cry for the city of Boston.

Now, it’s the Celtics turn.

“We haven’t been home since all the current events and everything, so that alone we’re anticipating it to be very emotional, very inspiring,” Kevin Garnett said Thursday. “We’re looking forward to coming out and trying to get this Game 3.”

“Fans really get riled up for the playoffs, and despite the tragedy it’ll probably be even more riled up,” said captain Paul Pierce.

No one said it better than Doc Rivers though.

“This is a circumstance that we don’t want, to be honest, but it’s here and our fans will be great,” said Rivers.

But a rowdy crowd, full of Boston pride, has become the norm for the Celtics.

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“The crowd always provides us (energy), that’s why they call it a home court advantage. There is no better crowd in the NBA than ours, and no better crowd in sports than this city,” said Doc. “They’re really invested, and that is the difference. There are a lot of crowds where, if they’re winning now they come. That’s when you see all the hats and all the mouths you hear when you walk in the city. But Boston, winning or losing people are still talking trash. That’s who they are and how they’re built. We expect them to be very much that [on Friday].”

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