Takeaways from Celtics win over 76ers: Jays pick up where they left off
The Celtics’ offense impressed during the preseason (a 115.5 offensive rating, third best in the league), but that was just the preseason, with a lot of non-rotation players getting run. What would happen when Boston had to face a committed defense in a real game?
How about 126 points and a 129.9 offensive rating? With that, the Celtics opened the season with a 126-117 win over the 76ers. Here are some takeaways from opening night.
• Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown picked up right where they left off last season.
Tatum scored 35 points on 13-of-20 shooting with 12 rebounds, and his offseason focus on driving and drawing more fouls led to a 7-of-9 from the line. Brown had 35 points himself on 14-of-24 shooting and carried the offense for stretches. When the Celtics wings are scoring like that, this team is tough to beat.
• The Celtics won this game in transition — they got out and ran and picked up some easy buckets, and the Sixers couldn’t keep up. Officially Boston had 24 fast break points (to the 76ers’ 2), but that undersells how efficient they were when they ran (a 169.2 offensive rating in transition). On the flip side, the 76ers have talked about running more but only 9.4% of their possessions started in transition. There were flashes but nothing consistent.
• Malcolm Brogdon had a quality first game in Celtics green with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
• That new and improved Philadelphia bench that they spent so much money and capital on this offseason? It finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Grant Williams outscored the 76ers bench by himself, he had 15 on 5-of-5 shooting off the Celtics’ bench (he was 3-of-3 from beyond the arc). It’s just one night, the bench will be better, but it was not a pretty start.
• Joel Embiid put up respectable numbers — 26 points, 15 rebounds, five assists — but the Celtics doubling him took him out of his game and turned the big man into more of a facilitator. His teammates didn’t help him out.
• Marcus Smart was Marcus Smart, trying to get under the skin of Embiid by grabbing his leg after a play, which led to a disagreement (Brown got involved). Smart picked up a technical for this play, and despite what he thinks it was deserved.
• James Harden had a solid first half and finished the night with 35 points on 9-of-14 shooting, plus he got to the line 12 times and had seven assists. His defense is still Hardenesque (which is not a good thing). However, this shimmy-then-airball is all Twitter wanted to talk about.
• Tyrese Maxey had an impressive night with 21 points, including nine in the fourth quarter to keep the 76ers within striking distance, but they could never close the gap.