Technically, First Night is tonight, but you can't blame the Celtics if they thought they rang in a new year last night.

The return of NBA basketball to Boston felt like a brand-new start, separate from those three deflating losses in New York, Miami, and New Orleans. It was the first night that the Celtics had their core, the first night Paul Pierce suited up, the first night center Jermaine O'Neal showed up, and the first night the Celtics won.

The Detroit Pistons were exactly what coach Doc Rivers ordered for the Celtics, who rolled disjointed Detroit, 96-85, at TD Garden, avoiding their first 0-4 start since 1969-70. Good luck to former Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank; he has his work cut out for him in Motown.