BOSTON – From time to time the chants rang out from all around.

Thank you Paul Pierce 

Thank you Paul Pierce 

On Feb. 5, 1999, he had made his NBA debut in this building with 19 points as the first-round pick of the Cheap Jerseys Boston Celtics. Now, 18 years later to the day, Pierce was taking in his goodbye from the bench of the visiting Los Angeles Clippers. 

We want Paul Pierce

We want Paul Pierce

At age 39 it was as if his memories had come back to life for one last time. And he was not alone in reliving them.

We want Paul

We want Paul

His former team of 15 years - accounting for 10 All-Star appearances, more than 24,000 points and one NBA championship - were on their way to a Sunday afternoon 107-102 victory over his current Clippers. Pierce was dressed in their uniform of black, but his mood was entirely bright. It was all he could do to keep his joy and gratitude from spilling over into tears.The particulars had been arranged well in advance by Doc Rivers – his championship coach then in Boston, his coach now with L.A. – that Pierce would start his final game in the TD Garden. "I told him it was senior night,’’ joked Rivers, but then his eyes went glassy as he recalled the pregame talk he had given in the visitors’ locker room.

Rivers told his players, "All of you aren’t going to be Hall of Famers, but just make sure when you finish your career, you are empty. Like you’ve done everything you can do. And you walk away with no regrets. That’s what he’s doing tonight. He’s empty. He can walk away from the game with no regrets. He gave it all. If I have one goal for every player in the locker room, that’s my goal for you guys. Just leave it empty.’’