MANCHESTER, N.H. – Shaq’s debut was a hit.

Shaquille O’Neal scored eight points in his debut with the Boston Celtics and the defending Eastern Conference champions opened their preseason with a 93-65 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Ray Allen led Boston with 14 points, including two 3-pointers, while Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis and Semih Erden both had 13 points.

But it was “The Diesel’s Debut” that grabbed much of the attention.

“I’m just trying to get into it with the guys,” he said. “Just trying to stay a thousand percent healthy, because, in a couple a weeks, you know, it’s for all the marbles.”

With center Kendrick Perkins sidelined after offseason surgery on his right knee and Jermaine O’Neal out with a strained left hamstring, the 38-year old Shaq started at center.

His first basket with the Celtics came on an alley-oop from Rajon Rondo when the 7-foot-1 center tipped in the pass to the delight of the crowd early in the first quarter.

“We’ve still got several new players that have to get adjusted to the Celtics basketball culture, but overall we’re doing what we’re supposed to do,” O’Neal said.

Boston led 49-22 at halftime after the 76ers shot 16 percent (5 of 31). Led by Allen’s 10 points in the opening half, the Celtics shot 57 percent.

 

KOBE BRYANT will earn another ring and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant will seize the MVP award away from LeBron James. Those are among the opinions of NBA general managers who voted in the ninth annual NBA.com GM survey, which was released Wednesday. Los Angeles was picked by 63 percent of the respondents to repeat as champions, with 33 percent of the vote going to James and the new-look Miami Heat.

The GMs picked Boston — a unanimous choice in the Atlantic — Chicago, Miami, the Lakers, Dallas and Oklahoma City as division champions.

 

LEAGUE: David Stern is promising Brazilian fans they will soon have the chance to watch NBA players in action in their country.

The NBA commissioner said during a news conference that preseason games will be held in Brazil “likely prior to the 2014 World Cup”, when Brazil will organize the showcase soccer tournament.

Stern was speaking ahead of a preseason game between the New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves in Paris. He also said the NBA would soon open an office in Brazil.

The NBA has been playing exhibition games in London and Paris and has its first regular-season games scheduled for March in London.

 

PISTONS: Detroit was hit hard by injuries in its first preseason game.

Forward Jonas Jerebko tore his right Achilles tendon and guard Terrico White broke his right foot in Tuesday’s night exhibition in Miami. Both will have surgery Friday.

Jerebko is expected to be out for 5 to 6 months. White’s timetable will be determined after the surgery. Jerebko played in a team-high 80 games, averaging 9.3 points and six rebounds last year as a rookie.

White was drafted in the second round with the 36th pick overall this year. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15 points last season as a sophomore at Mississippi.