October 17, 2018 / 2:53 AM / 4 months ago

Tatum, Celtics cruise past Sixers in opener

Jayson Tatum contributed 23 points and nine rebounds to lead the host Boston Celtics to a 105-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Marcus Morris had 16 points and 10 rebounds as Boston defeated the 76ers for the 15th time in the past 17 regular-season meetings. The Celtics also ousted Philadelphia in a five-game, second-round playoff series last spring.

Jaylen Brown scored 12 points, and Terry Rozier added 11 points and eight rebounds for Boston. Gordon Hayward had 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting and notched four steals in 25 minutes in his first regular-season game since badly breaking his left ankle in last season’s opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“It was so good to be out there, such a blessing that I was able to play basketball again,” Hayward said in a postgame interview with TNT.

Kyrie Irving, who missed the 2018 postseason with a knee injury, had just seven points on 2-of-14 shooting. Al Horford blocked five shots for the Celtics, who shot 43.3 percent from the field and were 11 of 37 from 3-point range.

Joel Embiid had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia. Ben Simmons recorded 19 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and four steals, and JJ Redick scored 16 points off the bench.

The 76ers shot 39.1 percent from the field, including 5 of 26 from behind the arc.

The Celtics led by five at halftime and pushed the margin to eight when Irving hit two free throws for his first points of the game with 10:46 left in the third quarter.

Irving drained a 3-pointer to make it 59-47 with 9:03 left, the basket representing his first in 10 shots. Tatum followed with a dunk to make it a 14-point margin with 8:14 left.

The 76ers answered with 10 straight to get back into the contest, but Boston pulled away later in the stanza. Morris hit two baskets in the final 45.6 seconds to give the Celtics a 77-66 advantage entering the final quarter.

Brown scored five straight points early in the fourth to give Boston an 82-67 lead.

Irving’s hoop gave the Celtics an 87-70 lead with 9:02 to play. Philadelphia moved within single digits at 94-85 on two free throws by Embiid with 4:28 remaining, but a basket by Tatum and a 3-pointer by Rozier elevated Boston’s lead to 14 with 2:57 left.

Hayward drained a 3-pointer to make it 103-87 with 1:39 remaining as the Celtics closed it out.

Tatum scored 13 first-half points as Boston held a 47-42 lead at the break.

Irving missed all eight of his first-half field-goal attempts.

—Field Level Media

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