Paul Pierce returned to Boston on Sunday night to face his longtime former team, the Celtics, and admitted the game created much more emotion beyond his statistical output showed (six points on two of 10 shooting).

"This was the toughest game I've ever had to play," Pierce conceded. "Tougher than any championship, tougher than any Game 7."

Pierce became emotional during the Celtics' video tribute and in the postgame locker room. The Celtics traded Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason.

"I loved it here," Pierce said before the game. "Never wanted to leave."