The first game of the NBA season was in Boston, where Jayson Tatum scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds while reserve Marcus Morris added 16 points and 10 rebounds as the host Celtics ripped Philadelphia 105-87.
At Boston, Gordon Hayward contributed 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting with four steals in his return after breaking his left leg in last year’s season opener.
“A lot to work on for me but the joy of being out here was amazing,” said Hayward. “It was so good to be out there, such a blessing I was able to play basketball again.”
Hayward was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd when he left the game in the final seconds.
Tatum had 13 points in the first half for the Celtics, who took advantage of injuries last season to have a stellar rookie NBA campaign.
“I’m a lot more sure of myself and confident and just relaxed,” he said. “It’s my second year. I knew what to expect. I was just happy to get back on the floor.”
Boston’s Kyrie Irving, whose prior season ended early with leg injuries, made only 2-of-14 from the floor for seven points but added seven assists.
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly a statement slam dunk from Jaylen Brown, who rose through the sky and obliterated Joel Embiid.
Joel Embiid scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the 76ers while Australian guard Ben Simmons, last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year, contributed 19 points, a game-high 15 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits from Richard Barrett)