BOSTON -- The first half of Boston’s season-opening 103-87 win over Philadelphia spoke volumes about the depth of this team.
They went into the half with a five-point lead with their best scorer, Kyrie Irving, scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.
He would eventually get a couple shots to go down, but the fact that Boston was able to maintain control for most of the game while their best shot-maker chucked one miss after one, lends credence to the belief so many have this Celtics team is so deep that it can withstand an off night from any of its core players -- even their best scorer.
The second half of Tuesday night’s game was a clinic on the game within the game we’d like to call, find-the-mismatch.
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For most of the game, it was Jayson Tatum using his length over smaller defenders or cross-over dribble to the rim against bigger defenders who weren’t quite as mobile. And to start the fourth, it was Jaylen Brown’s turn to exploit the Sixers smaller perimeter defenders as he dropped a 3-ball and a short jumper to put Boston ahead 82-67, their biggest lead of the night at that point, with 10:57 to play.
It was that kind of night for the Celtics in winning on opening night for an NBA record 45th time.
Their success was indeed a team effort.
And with that, here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday night’s game.
Jayson Tatum: He got off to a red-hot start, scoring nine of Boston’s first 11 points. He would finish with a team-high 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field to go with nine rebounds and three assists.
Joel Embiid: Boston did a good job of mixing up their defensive coverage on Embiid, but he’s too talented to shut down completely. He finished with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Ben Simmons: We’re still waiting for him to make shot outside of the paint, but to his credit he continues to find ways to be effective. He would finish with a near triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.
Marcus Morris: The leader of B.W.A. – Bench With Attitude – picked up where he left off in the preseason. He led Boston’s second unit with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
J.J. Redick: One of the best shooters in the NBA, Redick came off the Sixers bench and scored 16 points to lead all Philadelphia reserves in scoring.
Aron Baynes: It was Aron Baynes starting the third quarter for Boston that helped the Celtics get off to a fast start to the quarter and never look back. He would finish with eight points, four rebounds and three assists which included a pair of 3-pointers.
Kyrie Irving: We wondered aloud about Gordon Hayward being rusty. But it was Irving whose shooting touch was nowhere to be found most of the game. He would finish with seven points on 2-for-14 shooting from the field along with seven assists and four rebounds.
Markelle Fultz: Like most of the Sixers, this was not a good night shooting the ball for Fultz. He played 24 minutes and finished with five points on 2-for-7 shooting.
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