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12/30/2011 - 10:51pm
Detroit breakout: C's win 1st, Pierce returns

Paul Pierce scored 12 points in 23 minutes in his first game of the season while Jermaine O'Neal added 19 as the Celtics finally broke through for their first win of the season, 96-85, over the Pistons Friday night at TD Garden. Ray Allen and Brandon Bass chipped in with 17 apiece as the Celtics avoided an 0-4 start.

Pierce missed the first three games of the season with a bruised right heel but was cleared to play by the medical staff prior to tipoff Friday. Pierce started slowly with six points in 15 minutes in the first half. But he came out on fire in the third quarter, nailing a pair of three-pointers as the Celtics outscored the Pistons, 36-21, to take a commanding 86-64 lead. 

Including Friday night, the Celtics have outscored the opposition, 124-84, in the third quarter this season.

While Pierce was getting warmed up from the perimeter, O'Neal was dominating the paint, scoring seven of his team-high 19 points in the quarter....

12/30/2011 - 9:09pm
Welker fined $10K for hat plug

FOXBORO -- The NFL handed out a $10,000 fine on Friday to Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker for wearing an promotional baseball cap in his postgame press conference last Saturday.

The hat - promoting the "Bonk Breaker" energy bar - was not authorized, according to the NFL.

Welker responded Friday night on his Twitter page: Thanks for warning me the other 16 weeks I wore the hat.

After fans offered their support - financial and otherwise - to him on Twitter, Welker later tweeted: I appreciate everyone wanting to pitch in on my fine. But I am all good. I feel the love and that's what counts!

Welker wore a non-descript winter skull cap for his weekly Friday pregame chat with reporters at his locker. For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots


12/30/2011 - 7:46pm
Pierce to start in his season debut

Doc Rivers confirmed about an hour before Friday's home opener that Paul Pierce would make his season debut in the home opener against the Pistons Friday night at TD Garden. The head coach cautioned that he would monitor Pierce's situation closely and wouldn't rule out the possiblity of significantly limiting Pierce's playing time.

Pierce missed the two preseason games and the first three games of the regular season - all losses - with a bruised right heel. That injury - sustained days before the opening of the shortened training camp - also limited his practice time in the preseason to mainly shooting on the side and watching from the sidelines. He took part in just one practice with the team. The Celtics have dropped all three games with Pierce in a suit on the bench.

"We could be 3-0, I would be playing Paul tonight," Rivers said. "We could be 0-3 and we would play Paul tonight.

"I don’t know what percentage he...

12/30/2011 - 5:58pm
Report: Brady has 'sprained left shoulder'

FOXBORO -- If Tom Brady plays this Sunday, it will be with a sprained left shoulder, according to a tweet from the NFL Network's Albert Breer late Friday afternoon. Breer, quoting a source with direct knowledge of the injury, said the injury to the shoulder sustained in the Christmas Eve win over the Dolphins is "not an instability problem," indicating Brady would be able to play with the injury. 

Breer added that the source indicated that moving forward, it will simply be a matter of "pain control" for Brady and it shouldn't limit him from playing. 

Brady was limited again in practice on Friday with a left shoulder issue. He was one of 17 Patriots listed as limited but the only one listed as "probable" on the official participation report, indicating the team views him as a "virtual certainty to be available for normal duty."

It has been a...

12/30/2011 - 5:48pm
Ainge on Big Show: Celtics 'out of sync'
By: DJ Bean

Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show Friday, expressing disappointment in the team's 0-3 start to the season, but saying he ultimately isn't overly concerned. 

Forward Paul Pierce has yet to play this season due to a bone bruise on his right heel, but Ainge said he might be available Friday night against the Pistons.

"Paul is doing better this morning," Ainge said. "I think it will be a game-time decision with the trainer and just sort of how he feels pre-game. It's looking better, and we're very encouraged that he's going to be back soon."

Ainge said he is not worried the injury could nag Pierce throughout the season.

"I'm not worried that it's going to linger now," he said. "I mean, I think that had he started to play when he really wanted to play, which is opening night, I was worried about it then, but the rest has been beneficial for Paul. Even though...

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