He watches over them like a father whose children have scattered to various corners of the country, no longer in his charge yet still firmly implanted in his psyche.

"I was watching the Nets the other night and Kevin (Garnett) collided with someone and fell,'' Doc Rivers reported. "My heart kind of skipped a beat. I was thinking, 'Oh no. Is he hurt?' Before, I'd be yelling at him to get up.''

Garnett and Paul Pierce are toiling in New Jersey for a hugely disappointing Nets team that has been underwhelming under coach Jason Kidd.

The Celtics will face them on the road Tuesday, then will return to the Garden Wednesday, where Rivers and his Los Angeles Clippers will be waiting.

It's nostalgia week for Boston Celtics fans, yet the reunion with Pierce and KG is likely to be underwhelming. Pierce might be sidelined with a broken hand, while Garnett is submitting startling career lows in just about every category, including 6.4 points a game and 36 percent shooting.