Many narratives were confirmed for the Boston Celtics during their opening night spread-covering victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, October 18 within the friendly confines of the T.D. Garden.
The first? This team still plays at an elite-level on the defensive side of the ball, even if James Harden was able to go for 35 points on 9/14 shooting overall, 5/9 from behind the 3-point line, and a perfect 12/12 from the free-throw line. Joel Embiid had a typically dominant night as well (26 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists) but turned the ball over 6 times. And while ancillary stars Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey combined for another 39 points, the Sixers second unit produced just 11 points.
The other main takeaway was that the ‘Jays’ — aka 2021-22 First-Team forward Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — are not only a star duo that showed little concern for a summer of trade rumors for the latter and a coaching change set to affect ever member of the Boston Celtics, but they are a historically great duo.
On opening night, the Cs star pairing achieved a feat only two other duos in the history of the league have ever achieved, per Basketball Reference’s Justin Kubatko:
The Boston Celtics should have two All-Stars in 2023
In the wake of a pre-game ceremony in which deceased Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell was honored by the team, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum joined several of his peers with a pair of 35-point performances.
While expecting 35 points per game from either moving forward is an unrealistic ask, the two making the All-Star game seems like a lock given how dead set Brown looks to bury the Kevin Durant trade rumors from the summer and the fact that Tatum was a starter (albeit a replacement starter) at the 2022 mid-winter classic.