Celtics Handle 76ers in Impressive Opener


The Boston Celtics open the 2022-2023 NBA season with a sound performance. TD Garden rocked in wake of a 126-117 winning effort from the home squad. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown looked like the best duo in basketball as they combined for 70 points defeating Joel Embiid, James Harden and the 76ers. In addition, new and old role players aided the pair in helping interim head coach Joe Mazzulla secure his first win.

Jayson Tatum

Contrasting from previous seasons, star Jayson Tatum looks like he’s starting the season off hot. Shooting 65% from the floor, JT poured in 35 big ones. However, the ability to constantly make the right read and defend stood out more.

He only had four assists but while watching, it was evident that the playmaking leap he took last year was no fluke. Moreover, he is getting 100 times better at making the drive and kick passes out to the corner to shooters. Here are two that were missed.

He’s also, at least in game one, understanding when he needs to push the pace. A valid knock-on Tatum was that he walked the ball up the court too many times and didn’t put enough pressure on the defender. Hopefully, this game shed light on the end of that.

Lastly, he is 100% an All-NBA defender. His size, length, and athleticism helps him lock up on the perimeter but his added strength bolsters how versatile he can be. The team’s offense looks better but the defense can still be elite.

Jaylen Brown

JB has regularly been one of the more efficient scorers in the league. He adds to that mantra shooting 58% in a 35 point effort. Usually, Brown starts off hot and fizzes out later in the game. However, he started 2/8 this contest but he got going with a 13 point second quarter. It also seems like whenever the offense needs something, Brown makes a tough shot look easy.

Something else that helps this offense especially Brown is the faster pace. The Celtics were 28th in transition points last season but somehow, Jaylen ranked top 10 in transition points per game. In other words, a big part of Jaylen’s game got left out because of the team’s style of play. In game one the pace was obviously faster with the Celtics scoring 24 fast break points. Jaylen doubled his fast break points per game average from last year in this game.

Someone this athletically gifted should thrive if the up tick in pace holds true.

Key Contributors

Malcolm Brogdon headlines the best of the supporting cast. Brogdon made an emphasis to prioritize playmaking in the preseason. While this team needs that from him, his innate ability to get to the rim and create shots rules. His 16 points on 63% shooting helped everyone get open shots through his aggressive attacks.

After not reaching an extension with the team, Grant Williams played like he had a chip on his shoulders. Grant shot perfectly from the field, scoring 15 points. And when you couple that with his above average defensive versatility, he is truly a valuable piece.

Marcus Smart led the team in assists and provided some much-needed toughness as he always does. The Brogdon addition takes weight of Smarts playmaking shoulders. Therefore, he has the opportunity to let the game come to him more and not be forced to get people involved.

Last but not least, Noah Vonleh got progressively better as the game went on. He got in quick foul trouble early, but his strength helped the Celtics do a good job against Joel Embiid. An undersized Celtics squad surprisingly outrebounded the 76ers 36 to 31 with help from Tatum, Al Horford and Blake Griffin.

Next Game: Friday October 21st, Vs. Miami Heat Check out more of my content!


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