BOSTON (AP) — Boston fans have been patiently waiting to get their first glimpse of the new era of Celtics basketball.
They finally got it, and it revealed a team with a lot of upside.
Offseason trade acquisition Kyrie Irving had nine points, four rebounds and three assists, and free agent pickup Gordon Hayward added five points and five rebounds as the Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 94-82 Monday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Rookie Jayson Tatum, the third overall pick in June’s draft, finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Aron Baynes added 10 points and five rebounds and three assists for Boston.
The Celtics also shot 11 of 31 from the 3-point line.
“We’re building a foundation,” Irving said. “We understand that a few other teams that we’re playing against, they’re starting from the bottom as well…For us, we gotta take advantage of games like this.”
Dwight Howard, who was traded by Atlanta to Charlotte this summer, finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and six turnovers in his Hornets debut. Jeremy Lamb had 17 points.
Irving and Hayward, the jewel pieces of an offseason reconstruction that has left only Celtics intact from last year’s roster, sat out the second half.
In other games, the Washington Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions 126-96 in one of two exhibition games between NBA and international teams on Monday. In addition, the Utah Jazz beat the National Basketball League’s Sydney Kings 108-83. It is the first time an NBL team faced an NBA team on American soil.
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