The Celtics are officially back, but the season opener wasn’t without a ton of drama and even some heartbreak. We saw Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward make their Boston debuts, but unfortunately, it ended far too soon for Hayward. A gruesome ankle injury, which we now know is a fracture that’ll have him out indefinitely. So what does that mean for the Celtics?
Cue the children. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are the future of this team for sure, and the future is now. With the Celtics basically cleaning house, we knew their roles would be amplified no matter what their age; losing Hayward now makes that even clearer. The Cavaliers are never an easy opponent, especially when you consider this was Tatum’s first professional basketball game… ever. After Hayward went down, the spark went out with this team as you would expect, and the second half was much different. I won’t pretend I know what happened or what was said in that locker room, but I have a hunch. With one of their guys down, you’d expect them to come out guns blazing, trying to win for him.
Playing against the super team that is the Cleveland Cavaliers was never going to be an easy win, and it’s almost shocking that the Celtics lost 102-99; a game that close despite injuries speaks volumes to what this team can do in the future and the young potential. Jaylen Brown (20 years old) lead the Celtics with 25 points and 6 rebounds, while “King” James finished the night with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Jaylen got his rookie jitters out of the way last season, but I never expected a showing like this from him. Jayson (19 years old), on the other hand, played timid ball in the first half. There were moments where it was obvious he was actively trying to break out of that “oh my god, this is my first game” mood, but once he turned it on, he didn’t look like much of a rookie to me. Tatum finished the night with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. He’s now the first Celtics player to record a double-double in their NBA debut since Larry Bird in 1979. Again, not what I expected.
I feel like a proud mother even though these guys are only younger than me by 1-2 years. Watching them tonight really proved that they’re something special. Game 1 out of 82, and they pretty much stunned us all. This year, next year, hell, even the next 5 years are something we should be excited for as long as these guys are the ones wearing Celtics green. Although it sucks to be without Hayward already, let the kids get comfortable playing alongside Kyrie and Al, and I think we’re in for something special.