Pierce has been recovering from a bruised right heel and was seen on the court less than 90 minutes before tip off wearing a suit while his teammates were warming up. Pavlovic will be starting for the first time as a Celtic.
"It's an amazing feeling," Pavlovic said before the game. "I'm just going to go out there and play as hard as I can and help the team win the game. That's all I'm going to do."
Pavlovic played in 17 games with the Celtics last season after signing with the team late in the season. In those 17 game,s Pavlovic averaged 1.8 points and 0.8 rebounds. In the playoffs, he did not play a game.
On Pierce's injury, Pavlovic wished the Celtics' captain well and hopes for a fast recovery.
"Hopefully he's coming back next game," Pavlovic said. "We need him."
Boston and New York tip off the NBA season at noon EDT. More updates to come.