BOSTON, Mass. — Sixteen.
That’s how many combined points the Celtics received from Kyrie Irving and Al Horford on Tuesday night.
That was the margin of victory for Boston over Philadelphia, as the C’s used a huge second-half surge to cruise past the Sixers 105-87 on Opening Night of the 2018-19 NBA campaign.
While most knew the bench would be an area of strength for the Celtics this season, the basketball world received a glimpse of just how good Boston’s crew of reserves could be in the very first game on the docket. Highlighted by Marcus Morris’ 16 points, the green’s second unit combined for 44 points and 27 rebounds in an impressive win over a division rival.
After the game, head coach Brad Stevens had high praise for the Celtics’ full-team effort in their season debut.
“…But, you know, our strength has to be in our depth, and when one guy doesn’t have it going the rest of the team has to pick them up. And everybody has to play with great effort because the guy behind him is chomping at the bit to get in. And so, I thought that all of them did their jobs hard, and I thought we had great focus to do it well, and I think that we’ll clean up the offensive stuff. But if we can guard like that, we’ve got a chance to be decent.”
Morris embodied Stevens’ sentiments Tuesday night, which he plans to continue as the season progresses.
“I’m a veteran, I’ve been around. This is my eighth year, so I see that we have a special team. Minutes are going to change, the only thing that I can do is go out there and be effective with the minutes I’m given and that’s my whole motto during the season. It can come down to 20 minutes, 15 minutes so just try to change the game some type of way with the time I’m given.”
Opposing teams will have their work cut out for them this season, as it’s tough to find a hole in this Celtics roster from top to bottom.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Celtics-76ers game:
— Jayson Tatum didn’t show any signs of being plagued by the infamous “sophomore slump,” as the second-year forward paced Boston with 23 points to go along with nine rebounds.
— Gordon Hayward managed to make a notable impact in his first regular-season game since the first contest of the 2017-18 campaign. The C’s star logged 10 points (4-of-12 shooting) with five rebounds, four steals and a plus-10 rating over 24 minutes.
— Morris also recorded 10 rebounds, making him the first Celtic to record a double-double in a season opener since 2011.
— Boston now has won seven consecutive season openers on its home floor.
— The Celtics accounted for Boston’s second win Tuesday night, as the Red Sox used some late-game heroics to blow past the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Jackie Bradley’s grand slam in the eighth inning proved to be the dagger, and Celtics fans went berserk when the big hit was shown on the TD Garden Jumbotron.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports
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