Celtics Open Season with Convincing Home Victory

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After an NBA finals appearance and a historic turnaround last season, the Boston Celtics entered the 2022-2023 season with a degree of uncertainty. Interim coach Joe Mazzulla leads the Celtics as head coach Ime Udoka serves a suspension until at least June 2023. Even after adding players like Malcolm Brogdon in the offseason, fans had doubts regarding the success of the team with a new coach in control. 

On Oct. 19, the Celtics played the Philadelphia 76ers at TD garden. The 76ers, headlined by superstar center Joel Embiid and 2x Most Valuable Player James Harden, have high expectations for this season; the team

often in the conversation to win the Eastern Conference according to ESPN. With that being said, questions surround both Harden and Embiid—  with Harden’s explosiveness and athleticism having declined over the last few seasons and Embiid’s constant struggles with his health. After the Celtics secured the second seed last season, this game was expected to be very competitive. 

The Celtics opened with a somber tribute to Bill Russell, an all-time great player who brought 11 championships to Boston. A beloved player and community figure, Boston wore new jerseys that celebrate Russell’s legacy. The Celtics got off to a strong start with reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, scoring the first basket of the season. Great play from Harden and Embiid gave the 76ers the lead at the end of the first quarter, the score being 29-24. Boston played a better second quarter, overcoming the deficit and evening up the score by halftime. At the start of the second half, the game remained competitive with the teams trading baskets. In the latter half of the second quarter, however, Boston began to pull away. Careless turnovers from Philadelphia allowed for easy baskets and open looks for the Celtics in transition. With four minutes left in the quarter, a Jayson Tatum three gave the Celtics a double-digit lead for the first time in the game. 

With an 11-point lead heading into the final quarter, the Celtics aimed to close out the game in front of an electric home crowd. On the back of their strong defense, top-rated in the NBA last season, the Celtics maintained their lead and closed out the game. With a final score of 126-117, the Celtics took home a great win against a tough conference rival in the 76ers. Jaylen Brown and Tatum scored 35 points each, the last duo to do so on opening night since all-time greats Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain in 1969. Smart and Brogdon contributed on both ends of the court, Brogdon fitting in well with the new team. After the success of last season, Celtics fans have high hopes after this important opening day win.