Keys to the Game: Celtics 126, 76ers 117

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Key Moment

If you believe Opening Nights are for statements, then the Boston Celtics just made one Tuesday night.

Boston tipped off the NBA season at TD Garden by celebrating the life and legacy of Bill Russell and by taking it to the visiting Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics turned a close game into a double-digit lead late in the third quarter by rattling off a 13-4 run, and they never looked back from there.

The run began with a Jayson Tatum fast break layup, and it ended with a Jayson Tatum fadeaway jumper. Between those buckets from Tatum, he also added in a 3-pointer, which were coupled with triples from Marcus Smart and Grant Williams as well.

Boston’s lead eventually surged to 16 points during the fourth quarter and remained in double-figures for the final 8:35 of the night. Simply put – at least on Night One of the NBA season – the Celtics just had too much for the Sixers to handle during winning time.

And boy, wouldn’t Bill Russell be proud of that.

Key Player

How does one choose between The Jays?

It’s simple: You don’t.

Tonight’s Key Player has been morphed into tonight’s Key PlayerS thanks to simultaneous eye-opening performances from Boston’s two still-budding stars.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each logged 35 points during the season opener, and they both did so while at least 58.3 percent from the field.

Tatum did the majority of his work during the second half, when he scored 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting. He shot 13-for-20 overall for the night, while also contributing a team-high 12 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

Brown, meanwhile, did the majority of his work during the first half, when he scored 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field. He wound up shooting 14-for-24 from the field overall and rounded out his box score with three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot.

You don’t choose between The Jays. You just choose both.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to score 70 points on 61.4 percent shooting.
  • Tatum also grabbed a team-best 12 rebonds.
  • Joel Embiid led the game with 15 boards and also scored 26 points.
  • Embiid did lead the game in turnovers, too, with six.
  • Boston outscored Philly 24-2 in fast break points.
  • Malcolm Brogdon (16 points) and Grant Williams (15 points) combined to score 31 off the bench - 20 more than Philadelphia's entire bench group.
  • Marcus Smart and James Harden tied for the game high in assists with seven apiece.
  • Harden tied Tatum and Brown for the game high in scoring with 35 points.
  • Both teams attempted 28 free throws, with the Sixers making 24 and Boston making 22.
  • Despite Embiid being on the other side of the ball, Boston outscored the Sixers 44-38 in the paint.

Quote of the Night

"It was a proud moment, I think, starting with the Bill Russell ceremony."

Joe Mazzulla on recording his first career win as a head coach