Celtics fans will have an opportunity to watch old friends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in action when the Celtics travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets on Tuesday night.

It’s been an embarrassing season for the Nets, who are 6-14 and possess only one more win than the Tri-State Area’s other sorry excuse for a professional basketball team, the Knicks.

The Nets’ off-court drama has been far more entertaining than their on-court product, which has been a discombobulated mess thus far. Some of it can be blamed on injuries, as Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Pierce have all missed time this year. Some of it can be blamed on rookie head coach Jason Kidd, whose recent demotion of veteran assistant Lawrence Frank illustrates that he can still be a coach killer while being a coach himself. (Frank’s reassignment to filing “daily reports” has spurred one of the funniest parody blogs ever, however.)

A fraction of the blame for the Nets’ futility falls on Garnett and Pierce as well. Garnett has been awful this season, as he’s averaging fewer than seven points and eight rebounds per game. The formerly best defensive player in the league has a +/- of -5.9 this year. Meaning, the Nets have been outscored by nearly six points whenever he is on the floor.

Even Garnett’s trash talking game isn’t what it once was. Now he’s the one who’s getting bullied by inferior big men. The days of picking fights with Zaza Pachulia are long gone.

The past:

The present:

Pierce is planning on returning to the court along with Williams on Tuesday, which is surprising because he suffered a broken hand a little over one week ago.

Pierce has been dreadful when he has stepped on the court this year. He’s shooting worse than 37 percent from the field, and only has five more assists than turnovers. Pierce, though he may not want to admit it, desperately wants to suit up to take on his former team. It may be best, though, for him to wait until his hand is fully healed.

This contest is a statement game for the first-place Celtics, who have been beating their chests after a surprisingly strong  mediocre start to the season.

“Lot of guys expect us to just tank for [Jabari] Parker or [Andrew] Wiggins,” [Jared] Sullinger said after practice.

 

“Y’all might as well throw that out the door. I don’t know why people keep talking about tanking. We got competitors around here, we’re not really like that. We don’t care if Jeff [Green] averages 20 [points] or I average 8, we just want to win and show everybody that they can kiss our butts about that tanking stuff.”

It’s important to remember that the Celtics are two games below .500 themselves, and only have a three-game lead over the Nets in the Atlantic Division.

But as for the game on Tuesday night, save the pity for Garnett and Pierce. After all they’ve done for the Celtics, they deserve it.

Photo and GIF via New York Metro and Deadspin