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Homecomings for former players can be bittersweet, and for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, their return to Boston was no exception. Pierce and Garnett brought a championship to a franchise that seemed to have lost its way, and the Celtics showed their appreciation for the two stars with separate tribute videos on Sunday night. For his part, Paul Pierce seemed touched:

"This was the toughest game I've ever had to play," Pierce said after the game. "Tougher than any championship, tougher than any Game 7." Normally we'd doubt a statement like that regarding a game against a 15-31 team, but in this case, we get it.

Celtics' tribute to Pierce and Garnett

Who will be remembered as the better player?

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  • Should the Celtics retire Paul Pierce's number when his career is over?

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  • Should the Celtics retire Kevin Garnett's number when his career is over?

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They say that nothing ever ends well -- otherwise it wouldn't end at all. Ray Allen knows how that feels -- after signing with the Heat last offseason, he became persona non grata to former Big Three stalwarts Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Now that Garnett and Pierce are out of Boston as well, however, Allen's new teammates are pointing out what they feel is a bit of hypocrisy. LeBron James in particular thinks the ex-Celtics owe Allen an apology for their comments. We're sure all of these grown men can handle a little disrespect, but does LeBron have a point?

Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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The Brooklyn Nets enter Year 2 of their return to New York with a new, win-now look after the big offseason trade to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It did not take long for both the Nets and the Knicks to lay claim to the hearts and minds of all New Yorkers. Re-signed J.R. Smith insists that the Knicks have not lost any ground to the Nets. New Net Pierce says his hate for the Knicks "has grown a little" and that he's ready to have his new team take over his new city. Let the fireworks begin!


Better lineup?

The Nets added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to their starting lineup, while the Knicks' starters should be the same as last season.

SportsNation

Which team will have the better starting lineup in 2013-14?

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Battle for New York?

Last year, New York and Brooklyn tied the season series with two wins each, but the Knicks won the Atlantic Division by five games over the Nets.

SportsNation

The Knicks and Nets play four times in 2013-14. How will the series go?

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One more title?

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett teamed up to win a title with the Boston Celtics in the 2007-08 season, the only championship for both.

SportsNation

Will Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett win an NBA title with the Nets?

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A power forward's job is to control the low block area -- they are able to play with their backs to the basket as well as step out to nail a mid-range jumper. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are known to have that skillset. Some are also known for their ability to intimidate with powerful dunks, like Blake Griffin. Then you have the Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki types who can pretty much do it all, from inside the paint to outside the arc. How do you round out the NBA's best at the four position? NBA insider Bradford Doolittle had his say and so did the NBA 5-on-5 crew, but now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in.

Rank 'Em: Point guards | Shooting guards | Centers | NBA teams' under-25 talent

NBA Power Forwards

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge

Portland Trail Blazers
2012-13: 21.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Pelicans
2012-13: 16.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.4 BPG

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Knicks
2012-13: 28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis

Pelicans
2012-13: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan

Spurs
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.7 BPG

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

Nuggets
2012-13: 11.5 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.0 APG

Derrick Favors

Derrick Favors

Jazz
2012-13: 9.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.7 APG

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Nets
2012-13: 14.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 0.9 BPG

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

Lakers
2012-13: 13.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Clippers
2012-13: 18.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 0.6 BPG

Al Horford

Al Horford

Hawks
2012-13: 17.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG

Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

Thunder
2012-13: 13.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.0 BPG

LeBron James

LeBron James

Heat
2012-13: 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG

David Lee

David Lee

Warriors
2012-13: 18.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 0.3 BPG

Kevin Love

Kevin Love

Timberwolves
2012-13: 18.3 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 0.5 BPG

Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap

Hawks
2012-13: 14.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.0 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Mavericks
2012-13: 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.7 BPG

Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph

Grizzlies
2012-13: 15.4 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 0.4 BPG

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Pistons
2012-13: 17.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.2 APG

David West

David West

Pacers
2012-13: 17.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 0.9 BPG

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NBA releases 2013-14 schedule

The bad news: The NBA doesn't start for nearly three months. The good news: We know where and when that -- and all the other regular-season games -- will happen, as the league released its 2013-14 schedule on Tuesday. Opening night features a couple of marquee matchups, with the presumably Derrick Rose-ified Chicago Bulls visiting the defending-champion Miami Heat, and the surging Los Angeles Clippers facing the scuffling Los Angeles Lakers. Also on the docket: a typically packed Christmas Day, along with big reunions between Dwight Howard and the Lakers (Nov. 7) and the return of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Boston (Jan. 26).

  • Which of these 2013-14 regular-season NBA games are you most looking forward to?

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  • The L.A. teams square off on opening night. How many times will the Clippers beat the Lakers this season?

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  • Which Christmas Day game are you most looking forward to?

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  • Do you feel bad about the Heat having to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas on the road?

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  • How many regular-season NBA games do you usually attend per year?

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  • Which NBA team will finish with the best record in 2013-14?

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