The Boston Celtics ran away with a 105-87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA’s season-opener by way of unabashed youth domination. It wasn’t Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward or Al Horford who led Boston, it was the young 20-somethings who winked and (semi)-posterized their way to an emphatic “W.”
Playing against Joel Embiid, players tend to show their most expressive selves, and one Terry Rozier swat at a time that proved true. The combination of the point guard, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum even got Embiid to admit postgame that Celtics-Sixers was no rivalry at all because of its one-sidedness.
“J.J. mentioned it, this is not a rivalry,” he said. “I don’t know our record against them but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass.”
Joel Embiid in rivalry with Boston: “JJ mentioned it, this is not a rivalry. I don’t know our record against them but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass.” pic.twitter.com/IwuJ0YLL9A— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) October 17, 2018
During the postgame postmortem, Philly probably had three highlights on the brain from a trio (Tatum, Brown and Rozier), whose combined age is younger than Gregg Popovich!
Jayson Tatum winked at Embiid after crossing him up
Tatum stormed past Embiid and banked a fadeaway over the seven-footer that all but closed this game out. It was a straight-up isolation play and Tatum cooked him.
The two train together over the summer so you knew Tatum was going to let him hear, thus bringing to life The Wink, a beautiful word-less move to assert dominance.
Come for Tatum vs. Embiid.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 17, 2018
STAY FOR THE STARE-DOWN AND WINK pic.twitter.com/eRf55lETkH
(There’s more on Embiid where that came from.)
Terry Rozier, who is not tall, blocked the crap out of Embiid, who is tall
Embiid bodied up Aron Baynes, a like-sized skyscraper who he knew he could take to the rim, and went to work. He’d push him down to the block and fade a hook over him like he’s done so many times before.
But no. A 6’1 Celtic with super-hops and a relentlessness to have the audacity to actually leap and try to block someone a foot taller shattered that plan.
Like what the heck even is this:
The timing could not have been more perfect, and the gall to even try something so unlikely will put this play in Rozier’s career highlights.
The Celtics are must-watch TV even when the bench mob rolls in.
Jaylen Brown disrespected Embiid the worst
I’ll clear some things up right up front:
a) I know Embiid blocked the shot a bit
b) I don’t care
c) It wasn’t a dunk
d) I still don’t care
e) This was dope
Charging down the floor at full speed, Brown took a pass from Irving and decided to launch at Embiid’s face with impossible height and dunk on his existence. Who the hell else besides the post-teen Celtics would attempt this chaos?
It’s even better seen in still form:
Opening night gave us back-to-back games with four of the flashiest teams in the league and multiple MVPs yet THIS is what we’ll remember.
Embiid got defensive on Instagram afterwards after the one-two-three punch.
What a night from the Celtics youth. This was just the beginning.