Horford, Brown start Celtics career strong in debut

Horford, Brown start Celtics career strong in debut

AMHERST, Mass. -- Tuesday’s preseason game began and ended with one of the newer Boston Celtics doing what they do best.

First it was Al Horford scoring and rebounding his way to a comfortable double-digit lead early on for Boston. Boston lost the lead in the second half, but found themselves on the comeback trail behind rookie Jaylen Brown (8 points) whose powerful one-handed dunk followed by an acrobatic lay-up made it a one-possession game.

But the Sixers withstood the late surge by Boston to hold on for a 92-89 win.


Marcus Smart forced a turnover with 12 seconds to play and the Celtics trailing 92-89. 

Following a Celtics time-out, Smart took a 3-pointer that hit the front of the rim and rolled out of bounds with four seconds to play. 

Philadelphia called a time-out. 

After the time-out, Smart committed a foul that stopped the clock at three seconds. 

And then the Sixers did a very Sixers-like thing by turning the ball over on the in-bounds, providing the Celtics with one more shot at forcing overtime. 

After the Celtics called another time-out, Jordan Mickey launched a 3-pointer that was off the mark. 

Terry Rozier was under the rim at the time but was unable to corral the loose ball before time expired.

While it was indeed a loss in the record books, Boston’s start and finish provided legit hope and optimism about the Celtics this season.

Horford’s ability to navigate inside the paint as well as on the perimeter, was a huge factor in Boston leading by as many as 16 points in the first half.

And as the Sixers began to take control in the fourth, Brown instantly jump-started the energy in the building with a powerful, one-handed flush and continued to deliver highlight-quality plays to keep the game relatively close.

And while the outcome certainly wasn’t what the Celtics wanted, the final score in preseason games rarely has any significant value.

Folks are there to see the new faces do what they do best, and check out how much improvement some of the returners have made.

And Celtics fans were treated to both on Tuesday, well aware that coaches limit player's minutes considerably in the preseason. 

Horford had 11 points and 8 rebounds but only played 15 minutes. 

In addition to Horford and Brown, Philadelphia center Joel Embiid made his pro debut after missing the two previous seasons with an assortment of injuries. he played just under 13 minutes, scoring six points to go with four rebounds.

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.