Celtics vs. 76ers: Kyrie Irving Struggles, Joel Embiid Dismisses Rivalry With Boston

Sherman Parsons
October 18, 2018

"It's encouraging", said Al Horford.

Australian big man Aron Baynes earned praise for his dominant second half, with National Basketball Association legend Charles Barkley calling for Celtics coach Brad Stevens to give the Boomer some more game time to provide better balance to the team. Jayson Tatum couldn't resist the urge to trash talk over the summer when he worked out with Sixers center Joel Embiid.

He received an extended ovation from the home crowd during a pregame introduction that included a video montage of his rehab process.

Tatum picked up right where he left off in last season's playoffs dropping 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, and showing off his improved handles.

They shot a combined 6-for-26 for the game.

Brad Stevens always expects his players to step up when others are struggling, and while the Celtics' deep rosters makes it easier for them to do this, it also means asking players who would otherwise be starters elsewhere to play fewer minutes and take on reduced roles. Irving had seven points and seven assists.

Last season, the Celtics played the Sixers 11 times, going 2-0 against them in the preseason, 3-1 in the regular season and 4-1 in the conference semifinals.

The Celts shot 36.5 percent in the first half, which allowed the 76ers to hang around at least numerically for a while.

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Gold-Onwude reported that Hayward has been working on visualizing, with the help of a sports psychologist, what this first night back on the court would feel like. Irving missed his first nine attempts from the field. He didn't score until finally connecting on a pair of free throws early in the third quarter. It was sloppy at first.

Basketball is back in Philly after the team lost to the Celtics in five a year ago, including falling in "The Confetti Game" where Marco Belinelli's buzzer-beater was presumed to be a game-winning three when it had CLEARLY been a long-two with his foot on the line.

"You're in the first five or six minutes of the first game of the season, and this catastrophic injury happens, it stays with you for a while, " said Harlan.

"It's a great move for the organization".

"That is No. 1 on my list [Tuesday], to see him back out there after having seen him fall, " said Harlan.

It was an inauspicious start to the season for the Philadelphia 76ers. But Fultz's play was so bad last season, that he wasn't good enough to convince a team to give up their unhappy star for him.

On Tuesday at TD Garden, he matched Embiid's 23 points, plus nine rebounds and three assists.

Here's what you need to know if you're looking to tune in. It'll be fun to watch this team all season long, and tonight's matchup should be a thriller.

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