It was nothing but love from the home crowd in Boston as Isaiah Thomas made his first return since being traded from the Celtics in the 2017 offseason.
I.T. is a fan favourite in the city after leading the Celtics out of their rebuilding stage, taking them as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in his MVP-calibre season in 2016-17.
And Thomas does not let that love go unnoticed either. Prior to tonight's contest, I.T. fielded a number of questions from the media about his return, speaking from his heart about the mutual love between he and the city.
"This city is one of a kind and I've said it since I've been here," Thomas stated. "All I did was go out there and give it 100% each and every time out and they fell in love with that."
"It's genuine... there's nothing fake about it," he continued, "everywhere I go, everywhere in this city, people show real love and I just embrace it because these types of things can be taken away from you at any moment so I don't take it for granted."
The emotional night continued at the first timeout in the first quarter as Thomas received his tribute video on the big screen.
"Thank you IT!"@celtics recognize @isaiahthomas in his return to Boston! pic.twitter.com/Q9hD4JL2tn- NBA (@NBA) March 19, 2019
The loud standing ovation lasted the entire timeout and probably would have continued even longer if there wasn't a game to be played.
A few moments later, Thomas checked into the game for the first time and received yet another standing ovation from the crowd.
He didn't count out a possible return to Boston at some point in his career either - when he was asked if he'd like to finish his career there his answer was direct, "at some point. Those were the best times of my career. I turned into a superstar here. The world knew my name when I played for the (Celtics). Not saying they don't now, but playing for (the C's) changed my whole career."
Thomas is on a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets. He will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
He only played six minutes in the contest, dishing out two assists.
The Nuggets came away with the win over the Celtics 114-105 as Nikola Jokic's 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists got the job done. Kyrie Irving finished with 30 points and five boards but it wasn't enough earn the home win.