Pierce returns, O'Neal paces Celtics

Pierce returns, O'Neal paces Celtics
December 31, 2011, 2:57 am
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BOSTON -- The return of Paul Pierce. First game at TD Garden. Standout night by Jermaine ONeal. After getting off to an 0-3 start, the Boston Celtics put all the pieces together for their first win of the season, 96-85, over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Pierce, who missed the first three games with a bruised right heel, scored 12 points (4-8 FG, 2-3 3PG) in 23 minutes. More impressively, he scored half of them in less than eight minutes during the third quarter in which the Celtics built a 25-point lead.

ONeal recorded 19 points, 7 rebounds, and two blocks in his most impressive showing since joining the Celtics last season. His previous scoring high with the Celtics was 15 points in 37 minutes on April 11, 2011 against the Washington Wizards.

Greg Monroe scored a team-high 22 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, but his efforts fell short as the Pistons were out-shot, 52 percent to 43 percent.

All of the Celtics starters played 30 minutes or less. Brandon Bass led the reserves with 17 points in 23 minutes while Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling each clocked more than 20 minutes.

Chris Wilcox (left shoulder) did not play and hopes to go on Sunday against the Washington Wizards. Mickael Pietrus (knee) is targeting to play within two weeks.