Paul Pierce's heart has been in Los Angeles, his hometown, for quite sometime. But he still follows the Wizards, who he helped lead to the East semifinals last season and came within a three-point shot that was waved off at the buzzer to force a Game 7.
"I had a lot of fun, truthfully, just being around the young guys and teaching them everyday, talking to them," said Pierce, who is here for the first time since leaving for Monday's game at Verizon Center with the L.A. Clippers. "This is one of my funnest years, even though it was for one year, I had a lot of fun being around these guys. They welcomed me with open arms. I embraced the city, they embraced me back. I really enjoyed my time here."
Pierce is making his first start at power forward with Blake Griffin out with a leg injury. At 38, he had been coming off the bench for coach Doc Rivers.
Rivers, who coached Pierce with the Boston Celtics when they advanced to two NBA Finals and won a championship in 2008, made going home too tempting to resist.
"It was basically a family decision. Doc definitely made it easier, being able to have Doc there as a coach," Pierce said. "Being at home around my mother and having my kids be around their cousins and uncles and grandmas, especially at this point in my career where this could be the last year, who knows, re-evaluate after the season, just start finally getting them in a school system where they’re probably going to live. Also the opportunity, I looked at the team and I thought that we you know had a chance to win a championship with me and being around family. It was a combination of things. If it wasn’t for that, then I definitely would have been back here."