"We've used those guys as examples quite a bit, " said Stevens.
NumberFire's models now project Hayward to average 18.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.9 3-pointers per game this season. This season, anything less than coming out of the East on top will be deemed a failure.
Brown and Irving ensured the hosts' advantage remained in double figures but once again the 76ers came back, a couple of free throws by Embiid reduced the deficit to single figures with more than four minutes remaining.
The Celtics survived a lethargic start and rough shooting night but rallied to lead by as many as 18 in the second half. "Playing video games, I'm talking to my friends while I'm playing and keeping myself occupied".
The Celtics, however, picked up right where they left off in May, and the Marcus Morris-named "Bench With Attitude" didn't skip a beat in capitalizing on their time on the court. "I had no intention of really restricting him minutes-wise, but it's probably not all bad to play 29 in that first one and get your feet underneath you and get ready to go from here". It's far from just a catchy name, though.
Key Additions: Robert Williams (rookie, Texas A&M). Not only will Irving and Hayward be able to have off-nights for their health, but veteran big man Al Horford should have the luxury of some rest as well.
Le’Veon Bell Keeping Steelers In Dark; Trade Still On Table
If Le'Veon Bell's goal is to make life as hard as possible for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he's certainly succeeding. In the grand scheme of things, the Pittsburgh Steelers probably didn't want to have their bye week this week.
"I think they're one of the most creative teams on offense, " said coach Brad Stevens. Embiid, who was healthy in the summer for the first time as a pro, said he wants to be league MVP and Simmons is shooting for first-team all-defensive.
Brown and Tatum are rare young stars who get just as excited shutting their opponent down as they do scoring.
Australian big man Aron Baynes earned praise for his dominant second half, with National Basketball Association legend Charles Barkley calling for Celtics coach Brad Stevens to give the Boomer some more game time to provide better balance to the team. Stevens has passed every test put in front of him entering his sixth season in Boston, now it's time to see if he can drive the vehicle to the finish line of the postseason rather than the regular season. The Raptors pushed all their chips to the middle of the table by swapping DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, but that's too much of an unknown at this time.
Outlook: All systems appear to be go for the Celtics.
One look at the landscape of the league and the firepower of this lineup makes the answer easy.
Embiid was asked again about the budding Celtics-Sixers rivalry following an opening night bruising at Boston's hands, and he was incredibly realistic about the whole thing.