The Boston Celtics strike first in Orlando, holding off the Philadelphia 76ers to secure a 109-101 win and take a 1-0 series lead.
The Celtics' young star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 61 points, becoming the first Celtics teammates both 23 or younger with 25 points in the same playoff game.
For more on this highly competitive, Game 1 between the Celtics and 76ers, we have you covered with takeaways below.
Tatum and Brown lead the way
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown did the heavy lifting on offence for the Celtics, combining of over half of their points in a tight battle against the 76ers.
Tatum poured in a playoff career-high 32 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from deep, adding 13 rebounds, becoming the youngest Celtic ever with 30 and 10 in a playoff game.
Meanwhile, Brown added 29 points, six rebounds, and four assists on the night.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the first pair of @celtics teammates both 23 or younger with 25 points in the same playoff game pic.twitter.com/2FLvMOvtJH- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 18, 2020
Tatum was a +19 in the game, getting it done on both ends, earning praise from head coach Brad Stevens for his two-way effort.
"I thought he was unbelievable defensively the entire game," Stevens said of Tatum post-game.
ALL TIED UP pic.twitter.com/OtO4MQ09JB- Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 18, 2020
Philly refused to go quietly in this one, closing the gap to 103-100, but Tatum iced the game, burying two free throws after getting fouled on a drive to the rim with 41 seconds to go.
Kemba Walker added 19 points and five assists on the night. Gordon Hayward chipped in 12 before exiting the game in the fourth quarter with a right ankle sprain.
Jayson Tatum (32 points), Jaylen Brown (29 points), and Kemba Walker (19 points) combined to score 80 of Boston's 109 points on 49.1% shooting (7-17 3-PT)- Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) August 18, 2020
More needed from Embiid as turnovers plague 76ers
All eyes are on Joel Embiid this series as the 76ers look to find their rhythm without Ben Simmons, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
The All-Star big man got off to a fast start against the Celtics, scoring 11 points in the first quarter on his way to 26 points and 16 rebounds, marking his 11th 20-10 playoff game since 2018.
Embiid 😳 pic.twitter.com/qAxHjwp7TI- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 17, 2020
After trailing 55-49 at the half, the 76ers roared back into the contest late in the third quarter, closing the period on a 13-0 run with Embiid on the bench, but ran out of steam down the stretch.
👀 13-0 @sixers run to close the 3rd and take the lead on ESPN! #NBAPlayoffs #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/sM1uq5nUc5- NBA (@NBA) August 18, 2020
The Celtics zeroed in on Embiid defensively in the fourth quarter, limiting his touches near the rim, with some scrappy defence as he scored just seven points in the final frame.
'I got to do more," Embiid said post-game.
"Whatever the stats are, I got to do more. I got one job to do - carry us. I got to take more shots, be more aggressive and defensively, help my teammates.
Embiid accounted for five of the 76ers 18 turnovers, which proved costly in this one as the Celtics turned those into 21 points. Boston committed just seven turnovers for the game.
Tobias Harris added 15 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, while Josh Richardson and Alec Burks added 18 points apiece.
The Celtics will be sweating on the health of Gordon Hayward after he exited the game in the fourth quarter, with 3:08 remaining, due to a right ankle sprain.
Postgame, head coach Brad Stevens indicated that Hayward's ankle was swollen but the severity of the injury is still unknown. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews, Hayward is set to undergo MRI later today.
Boston's Gordon Hayward will undergo an MRI on his sprained right ankle tonight, sources tell @malika_andrews and me. He left the Game 1 victory over Philadelphia limping in the fourth quarter.- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 18, 2020
In 35 minutes on court, Hayward finished with 12 points, four rebounds, four steals, and three assists.
These two teams are back at it in less than 48 hours, with Game 2 on deck for Thursday, August 20 at 4:00 a.m. IST.
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