Los Angeles, CA.—The Boston Celtics (1-0) defeated the Philadelphia Sixers 107-85 in the first game of opening night to the 2018-2019 NBA season. These two Eastern Conference favorites faced off in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in last years playoffs where the Celtics defeated the Sixers in five games (4-1).
Photo By: Scorum
The Celtics returned their core guys from last years playoff run. Second year and a First Team All-Rookie from a year ago Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points (9-17 fg) and 9 rebounds. This was a player that was drafted No.3 by the Celtics a year ago and was expected to make a contribution to a potential championship team.
A year later he looks like a guy who may be the best player on this team and the number one option. The difference from this year and just a small sample in year two, he approached the game as a guy expected to make contributions.
The Celtics welcomed back All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the starting lineup. The two All-Stars missed a combined 83 games last season due to injuries. In their first games back the two combined for 17 points and 6-26 from the field. Hayward said in a post game interview that it "felt good" to be back on floor with his teammates.
A year ago this team was so good defensively as a unit and they picked up right where they left off. Holding the Sixers to 87 points and outside of Embiids 23 points and Simmons 19 points, the three other starters combined for just 19 points. They did a great job against a Sixers team that was a good three point shooting team holding them to just 5-26 (19.2%) while making 11 of their own.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons the two young stars showed up both finishing with double-doubles respectively. Embiid a first year All-Star last year finished with a team high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Simmons who did not have a great five game series against the Celtics last year finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assist both game-highs.
The issue for the Sixers (0-1) isn't those two, but the fact they depend so much on those two and last night didn't get much from anyone else outside of JJ Redick (16 points).
Markell Fultz last year's No. 1 overall pick is supposed to be that "third piece" to this puzzle but last night the Sixers didn't get what they hoped (so far). He finished with 5 points in 24 minutes.
If the Sixers are going to become serious threat to come out the East...they have to find help from someone else on a consistent basis.