Around the NBA: A look at the debuts of the 2017 rookie class
On this day in 1976: The Sixers acquired Julius Erving from the Nets

Sixers host Celtics in home opener

By: Dante Nelson, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia 76ers face the Boston Celtics in their first home game of the 2017-18 season. There is plenty of anticipation for this game if you consider how many Sixers fans showed up for the road game against the Washington Wizards. 

The Sixers faced the Wizards in the first game of the season and showed why people were validated to think things have finally moved away from the past few years of low quality basketball. While they did lose 120-115, they were step for step with the Wizards, controlling a good portion of the second quarter.

The Sixers were led in that game in scoring by Robert Covington with 29 points. He had a hard time missing out there. He shot 60 percent from the field overall and 64 percent from 3 point range. 

The Wizards were led by John Wall as he scored 28 points (on 28 shots) with 5 rebounds and 8 assists. Bradley Beal added 25 points himself.

The Celtics, well, you probably heard about them this week. In case you missed it (how?), Gordon Hayward went down with a leg injury that will see him out for the rest of the season. The Celtics are coming off of a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Their chances of taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers will take a blow this season. Luckily, the Celtics will get some money back from part of Hayward's contract to sign someone. What a shame.

Rocking Rookies

The Sixers had a couple of decent debuts from their two number one picks.

Ben Simmons had 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block. If you ask John Wall, he's a LeBron type player.

Markelle Fultz did well. He had 10 points on 56 percent shooting from the field and even made a jump shot. The free throw form still needs a lot of work though.

Both of these rookies will face a rookie from the Celtics. Jayson Tatum has played in two games so far and is averaging 11 points and 9.5 rebounds on just 42 percent shooting. Tatum and Fultz will likely be forever linked during their careers as the Sixers traded to get Fultz and the Celtics seemed to want Tatum. With Hayward out all year, Tatum will definitely have time to develop.

Let Irving be Irving?

Kyrie Irving is going to get his wish. He's the man. It's his team. But, there's no stopping him. It may be best to treat Irving like Russell Westbrook in the sense that no one can do it alone. If the Sixers take out everybody else and let Irving try to win on his own, it could work out.

Expect to see Covington take him on defensively often when they are on the floor together. But, to be honest, the Sixers are not easily equipped with someone strong and quick enough to effectively cover Irving. It will definitely take a team effort.

Matchup Preview  |  October 20, 2017
Boston Celtics
(0-2, 0-1 Away)
  Philadelphia 76ers
Projected Starters
Kyrie Irving Point Guard Ben Simmons
Terry Rozier Shooting Guard Jerryd Bayless
Jaylen Brown Small Forward J.J. Redick
Jayson Tatum Power Forward Robert Covington
Al Horford Center Joel Embiid
Injury Report
Gordon Hayward
  Richaun Holmes
Marcus Morris
Marcus Smart
Guerschon Yabusele
game-time decision


Broadcast Info:

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

When: 7pm ET

Watch It: NBC Sports Philadelphia (formerly CSN Philly)

Hear It: 97.5 FM The Fanatic


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