Thus, the National Basketball Association wasted no time in cashing in on this renewed rivalry by booking the Celtics versus the Sixers for opening night and for a showdown on Christmas Day - its annual lineup of the league's marquee matchups.
In light of Boston's 105-87 season-opening win, it's hard not to look back at the 2017 draft and think what could have been, if you're the Sixers. As a matter of fact, five of those victories have come by double figures.
The Celtics struggled to a 1-3 mark in the preseason, but coach Brad Stevens and fans are hoping the exhibition schedule can be chalked up to a team with big goals looking too far ahead.
It'll be interesting to see what Hayward's role in this opener is and how comfortable he looks out there with the starters. "I don't know our record against them but it's pretty bad, they always kick our ass so it's not a rivalry".
It worked against the Sixers, who hung around for three quarters before the Celtics finally pulled away late thanks to key contributions from the bench led by Marcus Morris. The Sixers also committed 11 first-half turnovers that led to 10 Celtics' points. Gordon Hayward had 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting and notched four steals in 25 minutes in his first regular-season game since badly breaking his left ankle in last season's opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They won Tuesday even though Irving made only 2 of 14 shots and scored just seven points. "I'm excited to play against him for a long time".
After a modest performance in which Fultz finished with just five points on 2-7 shooting and a plus/minus of -16, this kind of dedication is a good sign. We have confidence in everyone who is putting up the shot that it's the best shot for the team.More news: Mega Millions prize of $654M is nation's 4th-largest
"Everybody wanted to play".
Furthermore, this year may give us the chance to watch Carmelo Anthony get back at the team that waived him this offseason, while the Thunder would be desperate to prove how better they are without him bricking mid-range shots. "It was a big step for me". Having Gordon out there, playing with Al and (Jaylen Brown) and J.T. again and just really getting a sense of playing for the Boston Celtics again I had missed it so much. "I was just happy to get back on the floor".
Rivalries form in the playoffs and last year the Celtics played the Sixers in the postseason for the first time since 2012, the last time Philadelphia had reached the postseason, and only the third time in 33 years.
"Yeah, it definitely crossed my mind, especially warming up and running out through the tunnel", said Hayward.
Carroll started 73 games at forward for the Nets last season, averaging 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds.