The Boston Celtics tip off the first year of the Doc Rivers era tonight at the FleetCenter against old coach Jim O’Brien and the hated Philadelphia 76ers. According to Steve Bulpett, the team that will take the floor tonight for Boston, is still very much a work in progress. Peter May looks at what Danny Ainge has assembled and really has no idea what to expect from this bunch. Tim Weisberg feels that there is a lot to be positive about in this group as he previews the team. Lenny Megliola feels the Celtics have a good chance to come back to relevancy this year, but if they don’t, it could be the lowest point since the pre-Bird days. (I don’t know, I thought the ML Carr era was the low point…) Mike Anthony builds his preview around rookie Tony Allen, who in many ways symbolizes the promise and progress of the team to this point.

Bob Ryan does his usual magic work when the subject is basketball and looks at Paul Pierce, who he feels needs stability and to feel less oppressed at this point in his career. Carolyn Thornton looks at the stated team goal of running, and how Doc Rivers plans to carry it out. Jon Japha looks at Raef LaFrentz and what the forward, if healthy, can bring to this Celtics team. Steve Bulpett brings us 16 issues facing this year’s Celtics squad. One for each banner in the rafters. Shira Springer looks at Jim O’Brien coming in with the enemy tonight. Bulpett has a brief NBA Preview, he also has a list-style column of high fives around the league. Christopher Price gets Tommy Heinsohn’s thoughts on the upcoming season. In the spirit of Patriots Rear View, BSMW will be bringing you Celtics Full Court Press this season. A number of Celtics observers will bring you their thoughts on the season. The inaugural edition is up. Japha’s notebook looks at Gary Payton’s fractured thumb, while Bulpett’s notebook looks at the return of O’Brien.

Nick Cafardo was first with the report yesterday that Ty Law would be out 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his left foot. His colleague Ron Borges was at the very same time reporting on WWZN that Law was done for the year. Alan Greenberg acknowledges that Law could indeed be done for the season, and looks at what this could mean for the Patriots. Michael Felger, Chris Kennedy and Michael Parente also report on the loss of Law.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider looks at the slow progress of Rosevelt Colvin. It can’t be emphasized strongly enough that this type of injury takes time to fully recover from. Each week I hear complaints from people who say Colvin did nothing in that week’s game, but it’s probably going to be at least a year at least before the guy is fully recovered. The Insider also looks ahead to the Rams and has a look at Brandon Gorin. Marvin Pave says the Patriots are not using injuries as an excuse. Michael Parente says that no one is going to feel sorry for the Patriots, especially their opponents. Jim Donaldson tries to create a Patriots election themed column with exit polls and other references. Jonathan Comey has his weekly NFL Power Rankings. An excerpt from Tales from the Patriots Sideline looks another bizarre incident in club history, this time the co-head coaches era. Parente’s notebook wonders if the Patriots rush defense is cause for concern.

Art Martone looks at the decisions facing the Red Sox as regards Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek and others. Michael Silverman and Bob Hohler look at Pedro officially filing for free agency. Lenny Megliola says Sox fans want a repeat. Brilliant. Has the Kevin Millar shots controversy died down yet? One veteran Boston media member confided to me yesterday that in over a quarter century of covering Boston sports, “this is the stupidest fake controversy EVER. Nothing’s close.” I agree.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell catches up with Joe Thornton in Switzerland.

FSN has Celtics/76ers at 7:30. ESPN has Heat/Nets at 8:00 and Lakers/Jazz at 10:30.