BOSTON - Jermaine O'Neal finished with 19 points and seven rebounds as the Boston Celtics finally broke into the win column, defeating the Detroit Pistons, 96-85, to claim win number one in their home opener on Friday night at TD Garden.
"Playing extended minutes, you can get a rhythm, you can get a flow, you can get comfortable with what the team was doing," said O'Neal. "In the first couple of games I was in and out of there so fast it was almost impossible to get any flow to the game."
Ray Allen scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting for Boston, which made 35-of-67 field goals to shoot 52.2 percent. Paul Pierce, playing in his first game of the season after missing the team's first three games with a bruised right heel, scored 12 points and had four rebounds and five steals in 22 minutes. Kevin Garnett added eight points and three rebound in 25 minutes while Rajon Rondo totaled nine points and five assists in 24 minutes for Boston. Off the bench, Brandon Bass had 17 points in 21 minutes to lead the Boston reserves.
Greg Monroe was the game's leading scorer, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds for Detroit. Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko scored 10 points a piece, Ben Gordon had nine points and Brandon Knight added 10 points off the bench for the Pistons, who shot 43.0 percent. Austin Daye also added 11 points and five boards for Detroit.
The Celtics fell behind 15-13 with 5:32 to play and ended the first quarter with a 24-22 lead. Boston used a 12-4 run to open the second quarter and the Pistons were never able to recover. In the third quarter, Boston outscored Detroit 36-21 to build a big lead. With reserves ruling the quarter for Boston, the C's gave up 21 points in the final quarter while only scoring 10 themselves.
Boston return to action on New Year's Day against the Washington Wizards in D.C.