It sure looked like the Celtics are looking forward to contending for the title again after winning their season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The first half ended with a 63-63 tie and it looked like the 76ers had what it took to steal an away victory thanks to a scorching start from James Harden, who had 22 points at halftime.
Harden finished with a strong performance with 35 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while shooting 4 of 8 from three and 12 of 12 from the charity stripe.
Joel Embiid had 26 points, 15 rebounds and five assists, but you could consider that a disappointing performance considering the absence of Robert Williams III. Tyrese Maxey also made his presence known with 21 points, but the Sixers’ star trio couldn’t outdo the Celtics’ stars.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 34 pts in the first half and finished the game with a total of 75 points, far outdoing their regular season average of 45.1 PPG against Philadelphia last season. The duo shot 25 of 44 combined and caused the Sixers defense fits all night. Marcus Smart chipped in another 14 points, and offseason acquisition Malcolm Brogdon contributed 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
It was a great return to NBA action, and may show to be a good preview of a potential playoff series between the two Eastern Conference contenders. The NBA is all about star power, and both the Sixers and Celtics’s top players certainly delivered today.
As a final note, it was fun to see the spicy encounter between Embiid and Smart today. Who says the regular season doesn’t matter?