Celtics Opening Game

Alessandro De Stefano

On the opening night of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season, the Celtics played their fiercest rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers. After years of blowouts between the two organizations, a rivalry was reignited in a thrilling home game.

Immediately after the game’s tipoff, viewers could see the passion igniting between the two teams that had something to prove. The Celtics’ star man, Jayson Tatum, scored his first three points of the season with a corner three, which was followed by his signature celebration, “the kiss of death.” The first quarter of the NBA season proved to be kind to the 76ers. James Harden, last year’s big acquisition for the 76ers, looked unstoppable in the opening minutes. He earned himself 16 points while earning eight of eight from the charity stripe.

The second quarter brought forth a larger sense of competitiveness and chirpiness that made this season opener feel like the Eastern Conference finals. The two teams excelled offensively in the quarter, scoring a combined 73 points. The Celtics orchestrated a fast-paced offense with the help of their summer signing, Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon showed off his speed in the opening minutes of the quarter when he slipped through a screen to sink a layup. A pattern arose during the period for the 76ers’ superstar center, Joel Embiid. He was unable to create offense against the Celtics’ stingy defense. Along with that, he got repeatedly fouled by his defenders.

The third quarter opened with a bang. On a routine box out to secure a rebound, Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid get into a heated altercation that spills both teams out onto the court to resolve the dispute. The Celtics began to pull away in this period, as they went on a monstrous 8-0 run near the end of the quarter to stretch their lead to 12. The run was capped off by a Jayson shake-and-bake three-pointer.

The fourth quarter became a battle to see if the 76ers’ fiery offense could retake the game or if the Celtics could match them blow for blow. The latter was largely the case for the quarter. Both teams kept trading three-pointers like Yugioh cards. Most players played excellently, except for Joel Embiid, who let his frustrations with a poor performance hinder the game with a lazy turnover to Jaylen Brown and an elbow to the face of Celtics’ center Noah Vonleh. The waning minutes of the game had the Celtics still matching the 76ers blow for blow, which halted Philadelphia’s comeback try in its tracks. The game ended 117-126 in the Celtics’ favor.

The Celtics’ new head coach, Joe Mazzulla, had this to say after his first win: “It was a proud moment,” Mazzulla also exclaimed. “I think at the end of the game, the ‘Let’s go Celtics! chant — we picked up right where we left off…. When they’re cheering for you, you’re doing something right.” Mazzulla, who very unexpectedly got the promotion from assistant coach to head coach after the suspension of Ime Udoka. His star man, Jayson Tatum, had an unusually successful start to the season. “This is the best I’ve felt coming into a season in the last 2-3 years.”

The Celtics earned a great start to their revenge season after losing in the finals last year, while the 76ers had a setback to start a season with higher expectations than usual.