Paul Pierce’s eyes filled with tears as he waved toward the sellout crowd at TD Garden on Sunday night.

“Thank you,” he mouthed in full view on the Jumbotron. “I love you guys. Thank you.”

Kevin Garnett may have said it best before he and Pierce made their dramatic return to Boston: “Some things are forever, man.”

It felt that way on this night, as Pierce and Garnett were honored and the Nets won a game, 85-79, that felt like a bit of an afterthought.

It was an important win for the Nets, who improved to an NBA-best 10-1 since New Year’s and have won five straight. Andray Blatche scored 17 points in the victory.

But the scene here — as Pierce and Garnett returned for the first time since being traded to the Nets last summer — will be remembered long after the score is forgotten.

Pierce played his first 15 seasons with the Celtics. Garnett was here for six. They were the driving force behind the Celtics’ 2008 championship. And Sunday, despite wearing a visitors uniform, they were showered with adulation from the second they walked into the building until they left.