NBA: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown guide Celtics past 76ers in opener
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 35 points and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the second half to beat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 126-117 on Tuesday in the first game of the NBA season.
The Celtics made 46 of 82 field-goal attempts (56.1 percent), including 12 of 35 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc (34.3 percent).
Boston received 16 points from Malcolm Brogdon, 15 from Grant Williams and 14 points and seven assists from Marcus Smart. Brogdon was playing his first game with the Celtics after being acquired in an offseason trade with the Indiana Pacers.
Tatum grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.
James Harden led Philadelphia with 35 points, while Joel Embiid added 26 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, Embiid won the NBA scoring title last season by averaging 30.6 points per game. Tyrese Maxey (21) and Tobias Harris (18) also scored in double figures for the 76ers.
Philadelphia hit 50 percent from the floor (40 of 80) and 38.2 percent (13 of 24) from 3-point range.
The game was tied 63-63 at halftime. Harden was 8 of 8 from the free throw line and scored 22 points in the half. Brown tossed in 18 and Tatum had 16 before the break.
Boston outscored Philadelphia 35-25 in the third quarter and led 98-88 entering the final 12 minutes. The 76ers never got closer than six points in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics extended the gap to 16 before Philadelphia scored the final seven points in the last 1:44.
Overall, the Celtics had a 24-2 advantage in fast break points. Boston averaged 11.1 fast break points per game last season.
The game marked the NBA regular-season debut for Boston’s Joe Mazzulla, who was elevated to interim head coach in September after Ime Udoka was suspended for the season. Mazzulla’s only other head coaching job was at NCAA Division II Fairmont State (2017-19).
The Celtics wore “City Edition” alternate uniforms as a tribute to Hall of Fame center Bill Russell, who died in July at age 88. NBA players are honoring Russell’s legacy by wearing a commemorative patch with Russell’s No. 6 on their jerseys this season.