Opening night in the NBA featured a look at Eastern powers expected to vie for the conference crown in the absence of LeBron James.
If Tuesday is an indication of things to come, there’s a giant gulf between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
Celtics cruise in season opener
The Celtics cruised at home to a 105-87 win behind a balanced performance on offense led by Jayson Tatum’s 23 points combined with smothering defense that held the 76ers to 39.1 percent shooting from the field.
Joel Embiid not pleased
Joel Embiid had a strong effort with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but it was of little solace to Philadelphia’s outspoken big man, who did not mince words after the game.
“This is not a rivalry,” Embiid said, per Sporting News’ Sean Deveney. “I don’t know our record against them, but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass.”
It’s the first time the two teams have met since the Celtics eliminated the 76ers in the second round of the playoffs, four games to one. And they won that series without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.
Embiid on wrong end of highlight play
Embiid’s frustration was probably exacerbated by this play that saw Jaylen Brown make light work of his block attempt as the game was getting out of hand in the fourth quarter.
JAYLEN. BROWN. MY. GOODNESS. 😱
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) October 17, 2018
It was a rough night all around.
The 76ers are young and full of potential. But it’s clear even this early in the season that the Celtics have a significant leg up in laying claim to the Eastern Conference.
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