0642 GMT March 26, 2019
And this time, Pierce was sitting courtside in street clothes, unable to do anything about it, The Associated Press reported.
James shook off a first-quarter leg injury to score 13 in the second quarter – eight of them during a 13-2 run that turned a one-point deficit into a double-digit lead. The Celtics made it 64-55 on the first basket of the third quarter but never got within 10 again.
As the Cavaliers opened a 27-point lead midway through the fourth, the crowd began chanting "We want Paul Pierce!" But he remained in his baseline seat, awaiting the postgame ceremony that would raise his No. 34 to the TD Garden rafters – the 23rd person in the history of the NBA's most-decorated franchise to be so honored.
Terry Rozier scored 21 with nine assists and Kyrie Irving scored 18 against his former team before sitting out the fourth quarter as the game became a blowout. The Celtics have lost three of four to fall behind Toronto in the Eastern Conference playoff race; the Cavaliers, who have won three straight, are five and a half games behind Boston.
In their first appearances for Cleveland since being acquired at the trade deadline, Jordan Clarkson scored 17 and George Hill had 12 points.
Pierce watched the game from a baseline seat, under the basket where the Celtics scored 42 points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the finals to clinch their 17th NBA championship. On the other side of the basket were former coach Doc Rivers and former teammates Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Antoine Walker.
Timeouts featured tribute videos from Rivers, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Pierce's college coach, Roy Williams.
James banged into Aron Baynes in the lane with about five minutes left in the first quarter and hobbled off the court, favoring his right leg. He came back in with nine minutes left in the half and hit a jumper to tie it 40-all before his outburst that helped the Cavs pull away.
He sat out the fourth quarter, losing the chance for an 11th triple-double this season, and third straight.