BOSTON (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - 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 (Oct 16) in the National Basketball Association 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.
In a later game, Stephen Curry capped a game-high, 32-point performance with a key three-point play with 1min 46sec remaining, helping hosts the Golden State Warriors hold off the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder 108-100 in the second half of the NBA's opening-night double header.
Kevin Durant dropped in 27 points for the Warriors, who overcame seven-for-26 shooting from three-point range to win on opening night for the first time in three seasons.
Back in Boston, Jaylen Brown scored 12 points, and Terry Rozier added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics. Gordon Hayward had 10 points on four-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 post-game interview with TNT.
Kyrie Irving, who missed the 2018 postseason with a knee injury, had just seven points on two-of-14 shooting. Al Horford blocked five shots for the Celtics, who shot 43.3 per cent from the field and were 11 of 37 from three-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 J.J. Redick scored 16 points off the bench.
The 76ers shot 39.1 per cent from the field, including five of 26 from behind the arc.
The Celtics led by five at half-time and pushed the margin to eight when Irving hit two free throws for his first points of the game with 10min 46sec left in the third quarter.
He drained a three-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 three-pointer by Rozier elevated Boston's lead to 14 with 2:57 left.
Hayward drained a trey 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.