Celtics beat 76ers 126-117 in offensive showdown for season opener


Courtesy / Wikimedia Common

The C’s pick up a win in season opener

Vincent Callahan, Crier Staff

With a new NBA season approaching, the Celtics are looking forward to a chance at winning it all this year. They are looking to bounce back after losing in the finals 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors. 

Hopes looked high for them until head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the entire 2022-2023 NBA season, leaving assistant coach Joe Mazulla as the new leader of the C’s.

This offseason for the Celtics has been relatively quiet. The C’s traded for Indiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon, in exchange for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Juwan Morgan, and a 2023 first-round pick. Brogdon led the Pacers with 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists while playing 33.5 minutes per game. 

The Celtics also used a mid-level exception for veteran swingman Danilo Gallinari. The Celtics bench, which struggled a little bit last year, is now looking stronger with these two starters coming off the bench. 

Unfortunately, Gallinari may not play this year due to tearing his ACL playing for the Italian basketball team during the EuroBasket 2022 season. He recently underwent repair surgery and is expected to be sidelined for 6-12 months. 

The C’s also added Blake Griffin, who arrived just in time with Robert Williams III being out for 8-12 weeks due to knee surgery, as well as Luke Kornet spraining his ankle in the early stages of the preseason. 

Luckily for the Celtics, they did not lose any of their star players and unsung heroes. With Tatum and Brown making under $60 million it leaves enough cap space to bring in players like Brogdon. The core still stays the same with Tatum, Brown, Horford, Smart, Williams III, Pritchard, Williams, and White. Brogdon, Gallinari, and Griffin fit in well, bringing in starting-caliber talent from the bench. Now, the deep bench should be able to keep leads and mount comebacks, while allowing the starters to rest more.

Issues do arise though with Williams III being out. There is no player in the league that can replace the spark and defensive power that Williams brings to the team. This became apparent during the Celtic’s first preseason game when head coach Joe Mazulla put White into the starting lineup. 

This lineup spread out more space, but this had some problems with a sloppy start. They looked better than ever when they drained 3 straight threes. The new addition of Brogdon looked to be a win with him averaging 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Turnovers still remain an issue, but there is a ton of time to fix that problem. 

The Celtics play four games during the preseason with 2 against the Hornets and 2 against the Raptors. The C’s swept the Hornets on the back of Jaylen Brown, but they lost to the Raptors in overtime and saw a score of 125-119. Over the course of the preseason, it has been the Jaylen Brown show with him averaging 22 points, 1.3 assists, and 4.6 rebounds over the course of 3 games. 

The Celtics kicked off  their season opener with a 126-117 win over conference rival, Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers superstar center, Joel Embiid, recorded a double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds. James Harden was red hot for the Sixers, looking like his prime self. He put on a clinic from behind the arc, nailing five threes. Harden finished with 35 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The Celtics’ star dynamic-duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown proved to be the difference maker. They each dropped 35 points and Tatum completed the double-double with 12 rebounds. There is a lot of hope for the C’s this season and with this new and improved roster, a lot of people think they could make another finals appearance and win it all this time. Stay tuned for the C’s next game on October 21 at 7:30 at the Miami Heat.