Celtics beat 76ers 105-87 as Hayward, Irving make returns

BOSTON MA.- SEPTEMBER 25 Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics right talks with Jayson Tatum #0 during a preseason workout at the Boston Celtics' Auerbach Center training facility in Boston Massachusetts

Celtics beat 76ers 105-87 as Hayward, Irving make returns

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving reacts during the first quarter of a preseason basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Boston, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018.

It's highly unlikely Hayward regresses to a low-level player, but it remains to be seen if he'll ever return to All-Star form. Hayward didn't even make it out of the first quarter of the first game past year, but he returned Tuesday night to score 10 points with five rebounds and four steals.

"Boston has a lot of talent, but Kyrie and Gordon (Hayward) didn't play well tonight".

Including the playoffs, Boston has now won 10 straight games at home over Philadelphia, which it defeated in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. Everybody wanted to showcase what they've been working on and how great we are as a team.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The two biggest additions to last season's surprise playoff team that got within a game of the Finals, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, played ancillary roles instead of being the 1A and 1B on Tuesday.

"I just had a big smile when they announced my name again", the point guard said.

Brown and Tatum are rare young stars who get just as excited shutting their opponent down as they do scoring.

Boston's match against Philadelphia is up first and will be shown live on two channels.

But this would-be rivalry is lacking the most important ingredient: Some doubt about what the result is going to be when the teams play. As the both teams have rebuilt, the Celtics have always been one step ahead of the Sixers, and as both teams look to take advantage of the departure of LeBron James from the East, Boston remains a step ahead of Philadelphia.

The Celtics are favored to win the conference and the Sixers and Raptors are expected to be their chief competition.

The biggest difference in the Sixers this season could be Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.

As for the concerns about having a non-shooter in Ben Simmons playing together with Fultz and his questionable jumper, Brown said, "It's five minutes". It sounds insane to even think about a game that far away, but the end of December will be here before basketball fans know it.

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