NBA: Celtics beat 76ers 105-87 as Hayward, Irving make returns
Jayson Tatum had 23 points and nine rebounds, and the Boston Celtics outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers 105-87 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Marcus Morris added 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Al Horford had nine points and five blocks.
The Celtics survived a lethargic start and rough shooting night but rallied to lead by as many as 18 in the second half.
Boston won despite shooting just 43 percent (42 of 97) from the field and 30 percent from the 3-point line (11 of 37). But the Celtics’ struggles didn’t dampen the mood inside TD Garden for the return to regular-season action for Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.
Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.
Hayward played in his first game since undergoing surgery and more than 10 months of rehabilitation for the gruesome left ankle injury he suffered five minutes into last year’s season opener.
He received an extended ovation from the home crowd during a pregame introduction that included a video montage of his rehab process.
Irving was also back following a pair of surgeries on his left knee that caused him to miss the end of the regular season and playoffs.
They shot a combined 6 for 26 for the game. Hayward finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. Irving had seven points and seven assists.
Including the playoffs, Boston has now won 10 straight games at home over Philadelphia, which it defeated in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
Boston got some distance in the second half thanks largely to its bench, which outscored its Philadelphia counterparts 44-26.
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