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Cavs’ Powe makes season debut vs. C’s

02.26.10 at 6:57 am ET
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Leon Powe walked past the visitors locker room when he arrived TD Garden. It’€™s not exactly a place he frequented when he played for the Celtics.

‘€œWhen I came here early I did take an extra step that way [toward the Celtics locker room] because I’€™ve never been in this locker room before now,’€œ he said, laughing, ‘€œI came here, I was like, ‘Oh this locker room’€™s trash.’ I was like, ‘Oh, no wonder I’€™ve never been in here.’ ‘€

On Thursday night he returned to the building where he played his first NBA game, won a championship, and spent the first three years of his career.

As it turns out, it was also the same building where he experienced another first.

After missing 10 months with a torn ACL, Powe made his regular-season debut with the Cavaliers on, of all place, the Garden parquet.

It took a minute to register when coach Mike Brown gave him the nod late in the second quarter.

‘€œHe called my name like three times,’€ Powe said. ‘€œI didn’€™t even know, was he calling me? I was looking down, I’€™m the only Leon, OK. All right, I’€™m going to go in now. So I wasn’€™t really sure. My teammates tapped me ‘€” ‘€˜Hey, hey, go in man.’€™ I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I haven’€™t played in a while, but it felt good getting back out there a little bit.’€

Powe made the most of his four minutes of playing time. He scored four points, hit two free throws, and grabbed a pair of rebounds.

His main focus, though, continues to be tough defense. His assignment against the Celtics? Defend Kevin Garnett.

‘€œI was just messing with him a little bit, talking a little junk to him. He said a couple of things to me so I said something back,’€ Powe chuckled. ‘€œYou know me and KG, anybody can attest to this, at practice we’€™d go at it all the time, yelling, pushing, going at each other all the time. It was just like old times. It’€™s just his way of saying what’€™s up.’€

Not only did Powe appreciate Garnett’€™s greeting, the response from the Celtics fans went a long way too. Just two days after giving Eddie House a standing ovation when he returned as a Knick, the crowd greeted Powe with a loud cheer.

‘€œThe fans appreciated the hard work I did while I was here, and that’€™s big to me.’€ he said. ‘€œI just hope that they continue to stick with me so any time I come here, I’€™d get a standing ovation.’€

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