The Celtics will feature the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the court after both suffered season-ending injuries past year. But most importantly, the much bigger hope is for the team to get their first mark in the win column. Instead, Thunder fans will get a first look at offseason acquisitions Nerlens Noel, Dennis Schroder, TLuwawu-Cabarrot and Abdel Nader, while Paul George shoulders the offensive load.
One of the biggest changes for Philadelphia entering the new season is the insertion of second-year guard Markelle Fultz into the starting lineup.
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.
That statement alone should be a scary one for the rest of the Eastern Conference. The guard had a poor night as he went 0-11 from the field before ending the night with 2-14, while his three point shooting also was equally bad as he went 1-8 from beyond the arc for a 17.9 FG percent. The forward played 25 minutes and contributed with 10 points and five rebounds.
For now, however, the 76ers are clearly playing catch up and it might be time to start tempering expectations when it comes to how they would compete in a playoff series.
The Boston Celtics will not be missing any players due to injury, though Hayward's time will be limited, and Jabari Bird is still not with the team due to legal trouble. To be fair, they were +1 as a team in those minutes, but the offense struggled.
"We need him to be great", Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of his budding superstar.
On the flip side, Philadelphia were top-heavy with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons leading the way in both points (23 and 19) and minutes (37 and 43).
"This not a rivalry", Embiid said, per ESPN. The Warriors big guns did what they always do and Paul tried to single-handedly keep OKC in the game.
"I just kept reminding him that we nearly swept them", Tatum said.
Philly is going to win with star power.
That appeared to be the intent of Stevens when he went to Baynes in place of All-Star Gordon Hayward - who is on a minute restriction to start the season coming off last year's dislocated ankle and fractured leg - to start the second half Tuesday night.
Every day in the National Basketball Association there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the National Basketball Association. In the 18 games leading into this one, Philly shot 42.4 percent and averaged 97.9 points.