The Boston crowd chanted “Paul Pierce” throughout the game. “We want” and “Thank you” sometimes preceding it. All that was missing in Pierce’s final game in the Boston Garden was a shout out from the late Celtics announcing legend Johnny Most — because even though Most’s tenure preceded Pierce’s career, Pierce belongs in the category with Bird and Havlicek in the Celtics annals — and he deserved a defining Johnny Most call just once. What Pierce did have was Doc Rivers, his coach in Boston during his sole championship run — and his coach now in Los Angeles for Pierce’s swan song season.
Pierce played 15 seasons and scored 24K+ points for the Celtics. He was the NBA Finals MVP during the Celtics’ 2008 NBA Championship, when he considered himself the “best player in the world.” Reporter Ian Thomsen shared what Doc Rivers told his players as Pierce took the Garden floor for the final time:
“All of you aren’t going to be Hall of Famers, but just make sure when you finish your career, you are empty. Like you’ve done everything you can do. And you walk away with no regrets. That’s what he’s doing tonight. He’s empty. He can walk away from the game with no regrets. He gave it all. If I have one goal for every player in the locker room, that’s my goal for you guys. Just leave it empty.’’