Celtics win opener over Sixers


With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back in the fold and with nearly every player back from the team that was one win away from the NBA Finals a year ago, the Boston Celtics begin the long journey to a championship tonight. But the Celtics' struggles didn't dampen the mood inside TD Garden for the return to regular-season action for Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

Boston has now won 15 of its last 17 regular season match ups with the 76ers, not including last seasons playoff series which Boston won in five games. It sounds insane to even think about a game that far away, but the end of December will be here before basketball fans know it.

With last year's season ending the way it did, falling one game short of their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, the Celtics hope the luck of the leprechaun will be on their side this season.

Altogether on Opening Night, the 76ers scored just 50 points on the 60 possessions during which Horford or Baynes were matched up with Embiid.

"I kind of count this as my rookie season, because I'm coming in healthy", said Embiid, who finally enters the season on a level playing field with other players in terms of health.

The Celtics' All-Stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who missed the playoffs past year through injury, had seven and 10 points respectively.

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It was step one in what figures to be an entertaining season now that Hayward and Irving have rejoined a team that went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. "I think that we'll clean up the offensive stuff but if we can guard we got a chance to be decent".

In his post-game interview, Hayward thanked God, his family, and his teammates for sticking with him over the previous year, saying he'll lean on them again as challenges arise throughout the season.

NBA basketball is back, and for the second game of the 2018-19's opening night, we'll head out West to Oracle Arena. I feel the more that he can, and I can and really, sometimes, the fans, let's look at him as a 20-year-old talent instead of any type of baggage of being the first player chosen.

There was another positive on the night for the Celtics as Gordon Hayward made his TD Garden debut after sitting out nearly the entire 2017-18 campaign with a foot injury.

On the flip side, Philadelphia were top-heavy with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons leading the way in both points (23 and 19) and minutes (37 and 43). Third-string point guard (in name only) Terry Rozier, meanwhile, finished his night with 11 points, eight rebounds, and a Celtic-leading plus-22 in 26 minutes off the bench. So... anyone still want to argue Danny Ainge didn't own the Sixers when he traded away the No. 1 pick to move back two spots and get Jayson Tatum? "I love his game and I'm excited to play against him for a long time".

- Kawhi Leonard went east from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors.