5 biggest storylines of opening week for the 2018-19 season

Joel Embiid: Celtics vs Sixers Isn’t A Rivalry, “They Always Kick Our Ass”

The Sixers visit the Celtics in the nationally televised league opener Tuesday night.

The 2018-19 National Basketball Association season tips off Tuesday with two marquee matchups.

The Boston Celtics kicked off their 2018-19 in the same manner the Boston Red Sox did in Game 3 of the ALCS: with a decisive victory.

"We felt all of the Celtics tonight", 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "So that's the next step for us is to get to the Finals - and to try to win".

"We've used them, as examples quite a bit", Stevens said Sunday. And being willing to take on those roles - both as the guy that did it and the guy that replaced him the next night in Kinsler - those things matter. "It's not a rivalry until we knock them out of the playoffs". He attributed his atypical performance to nerves from being so "hyped up" to play and anticipates he'll get his rhythm back as the season goes on.

With only one more practice remaining this afternoon, the Celtics feel they have straightened out whatever was slowing them down in the preseason through a almost full week of workouts.

"We're all just unselfish", said Terry Rozier, who finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. "We're like a team that's more together than we were the first week". Irving missed his first nine attempts from the field. "We're very excited. Everybody's going to be watching".

Oklahoma City was bounced out of the postseason last summer in the first round in a six-game series with the Utah Jazz.

The Celtics needed to work on their defense this past week and also their chemistry at the offensive end.

Brown's idea to have second-year guard Markelle Fultz start games and Redick start the second halves is a way to incorporate Fultz into the first unit for at least five minutes a night.

"We had so much to improve on at both ends, " said Stevens. "I think everybody's adrenaline was pumping". That was a special feeling for me. "They're a well-coached team and they're going to be a tough matchup for us". Those two and Daniel (Theis) stood out as the guys who made the biggest jumps in one week. I don't know our record against them but it's pretty bad.

That has happened only one other time in his career: On Dec. 6, 2013, against the Atlanta Hawks, when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. "We haven't looked well in preseason, so we're not looking any further than the present day".

"We're going to be ready".

"It [the injury] was a major part of my life at this point in time, so I just tried to get that out of my head as soon as I started playing".

Hayward showed a hint of hesitation on the first possession of the game, when he caught the ball in the corner and had a brief open look at the basket. "We've got to figure ourselves out".

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