BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- It was an ugly preseason for the Celtics. 1-3, sluggish, terrible defense, rarely appeared on the same page.
But, the C's flipped the switch in last night's season-opening win over the Sixers in a possible East finals preview and, get this--they won by 18 while Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward struggled in their first returns from last year's season-ending surgeries.
Irving and Hayward combined for just 17 points and shot 6-26 as Jayson Tatum and Boston's bench led the way. Still, Irving and Hayward were thrilled to be back.
"It was amazing to be out there on the court again for a regular season game," Hayward said. "My adrenaline was definitely pumping those first three or four minutes. It was great just to be out there. That was a big step for me."
"I'll get my rhythm back as we continue to go into the season," Irving said. "I just had a big smile when they announced my name again, and having Gordon out there, playing with Al, and JB and JT again, and just really getting a sense of playing for the Boston Celtics again."
Brad Stevens said the Celts' depth led the way.
"I thought that our, again our depth was a big factor in the game," Stevens said. "Whenever things started to go awry and we put new, fresh guys in, they all made plays. That's what it's gotta be for us, and we're a long way from being really good."
C's in Toronto Friday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) reports