The Boston Celtics looked awfully impressive in the season-opening win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
BOX SCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY
Here are three key takeaways from the 1st of 1,230 games this season.
Jayson Tatum looks ready for a big season
In last year's run to the Conference Finals, Jayson Tatum carried Boston on offence as it played without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
There's obviously 81 more regular-season games, but if the season opener was any indication, Tatum is not about to take a back seat to anyone.
The second-year wing looked comfortable in the half court and in transition, scoring a team-high 23 points on an efficient 9-17 from the field. He did it despite struggling to find his range as he finished just 1-5 from beyond the 3-point line.
Tatum's ability to manufacture points will be paramount throughout the season for Boston in games like this in which Irving and Hayward struggle to get going. The two established stars returning from injury combined to shoot 6-26.
Welcome back, Gordon Hayward
Though he may have looked understandably rusty, it was awesome to see Hayward back on the court.
Welcome to @tdgarden, Gordon ☘️ pic.twitter.com/4PPSH2XdXb- Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 17, 2018
Hayward knocked down a few jumpers en route to finishing with 10 points. And while the finishing will come with time, Hayward didn't show much hesitation as he regularly ran pick-and-roll actions, cut hard and sprinted the floor. He also made some impressive stops on the other end against a variety of 76ers, switching seamlessly and holding firm in the paint.
As expected, he played 25 minutes which matched the minutes restriction he'll be on to begin the season.
Ben Simmons is must-see TV
It's a long season so there will be plenty of time to point out what the 76ers need to improve on if they'll seriously contend with the Celtics and Raptors in the Eastern Conference.
For now, let's appreciate Ben Simmons who dazzled with several highlight-worthy dimes. He threw passes over his head and between his legs, skip passes that traveled the length of the floor and turned every fastbreak into an edge-of-your seat moment.
Simmons finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals in the loss.