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Jones' dad gets to watch Blue Jackets in Boston after NBA playoff exit

Pacers assistant coach, Seth's father, has to return to TD Garden after Celtics sweep

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Popeye Jones wasn't eager to return to TD Garden so quickly. Then the puck dropped.

The Boston Bruins home was where Jones, an assistant coach with the NBA's Indiana Pacers, and his team lost the first two games of their playoff series, a sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

But his return to the scene was under very proud circumstances. He was watching his son, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, play in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"It's actually too soon for what happened, getting swept, but obviously it's to support the kid," Jones said during the first intermission. "To see the way [the Blue Jackets] gelled, the way they came together so late in the season after the trades and the job that they did, the team did to rally around each other. That's what team is and that's what I tried to teach him growing up. It's all about team."

It was just eight days ago that the Celtics beat the Pacers 99-91 here to take a 2-0 lead in the series. The Pacers' season ended at home on Sunday.

It wasn't easy keeping tabs on both playoffs.

"Obviously, I was studying a lot of basketball during that time, watching a lot of film, but I've got one eye on the hockey as well, just watching him and how the team is playing," said Jones, who was in attendance with his wife Kelsey. "Walking in here today I said, 'It's crazy that he's playing in the Garden,' but I'm obviously very proud as his father, just rooting him and giving him all the encouragement. Just keep grinding it out."

As painful as it was for his own team to get swept. Jones was genuinely impressed with how the Blue Jackets knocked out the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in four games in the first round.

He said Seth was even-keeled about the sweep when they spoke after the series, saying it was just one round and there was more work to do. But this is the first time in his career that Seth has advanced beyond the first round, leaving him with one proud papa.

"It's another step and we know that to win a championship you're going to have to take steps, it doesn't happen overnight," Jones said. "To lose like they did the last two years and then to beat the No. 1 seed this year, a lot of excitement on my part and it's a huge accomplishment for him and the team."

"I love the excitement of playoff hockey," Jones said. "It's really exciting and I'm glad I can come watch, but it is a weird feeling walking into a huge arena to watch your son play hockey. It's crazy."

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