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.
Off-season 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 off-season 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.
GRIZZLIES 92, MAGIC 84
Mario Chalmers had 19 points in 20 minutes, Jarell Martin added 16 points and the Grizzlies defeated the Magic in both teams preseason opener.
Orlando led 65-64 late in the third quarter before the Grizzlies closed the period on an 8-0 run, which included six by Chalmers. Memphis led by as many as 10 in the final period.
Jonathan Isaac led the Magic with 15 points, followed by Mario Hezonja with 12.
MAGIC: Jonathon Simmons, Orlando’s biggest off-season pickup, had a couple of highlight-worthy dunks and scored nine points in his Magic preseason debut. …Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier each played 15 minutes, scoring eight points apiece.
GRIZZLIES: With centre Marc Gasol (sprained ankle) and forward JaMychael Green both sitting, coach David Fizdale experimented with a smaller lineup of Brandan Wright at centre, Chandler Parsons at power forward, and James Ennis at small forward along with Wayne Selden and Mike Conley at the guard spots.
UP NEXT: Orlando (0-1) is at Dallas on Thursday. Memphis (1-0) visits Philadelphia on Wednesday.
MAVERICKS 106, BUCKS 104
Jonathan Motley hit a layup with 4.1 seconds left to lift the Mavericks to a win over the Bucks. Motley scored all nine of his points in a fourth quarter that saw the Mavericks outscore the Bucks 31-20.
Dallas’ starters were pulled after one quarter of action. Harrison Barnes was 4 of 6 from the field and had nine points. Dirk Nowitzki had five points in 10 minutes of action.
Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 12 points, followed by John Henson with 11 points and four rebounds.
BUCKS: Rashad Vaughn finished with 20 points for Milwaukee and missed a 30-footer at the buzzer. … Greg Monroe had 12 points and seven rebounds.
MAVERICKS: Nerlens Noel played 15 minutes off the bench and had five points and two steals.
UP NEXT: Bucks (0-1) host Indiana on Wednesday. Dallas hosts Chicago on Wednesday.
KINGS 106, SPURS 100
LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points in 16 minutes of action in the Spurs’ loss to the Kings in the preseason opener for both teams.
The Spurs (0-1) played their starters for two quarters, giving the Kings a chance to showcase their young second unit. Rookie De’Aaron Fox shined in the extra playing time, scoring a game-high 16 on 7 of 8 shooting from the field.
The Kings (1-0) outscored the Spurs 23-16 in the fourth quarter.
SPURS: Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Rudy Gay all sat out. … Patty Mills finished with 11 points and three assists in 17 minutes off the bench.
KINGS: Skal Labissiere finished with 15 points, connecting on 7 of 10 shots. Buddy Hield added 12 points and four rebounds.
UP NEXT: These teams are set to meet again Friday in San Antonio.
NUGGETS 113, LAKERS 107
Garry Harris scored 25 points in 21 minutes, Nikola Jokic added 16 and the Nuggets (2-0) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers (0-2) with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Lonzo Ball finished with eight points and four assists, but also had four turnovers in his second preseason game.
NUGGETS: Paul Millsap finished with 11 points, two assists, two blocks and two steals.
LAKERS: Julius Randall had a solid night with 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes.
UP NEXT: Lakers host the Nuggets again on Wednesday.
JAZZ 108, SYDNEY KINGS 83
SALT LAKE CITY — Rodney Hood scored 18 points as the Utah Jazz defeated the Sydney Kings 108-83 in their preseason opener Monday. Sydney was visiting from Australia’s National Basketball League in the first game between the two leagues in an NBA preseason game.
The Jazz began a new era for the franchise without All-Star Gordon Hayward, who spent his first seven seasons with the team. Hayward signed with Boston as a free agent. Second leading-scorer George Hill went to Sacramento as a free agent.
Newly acquired Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles started in place of the pair alongside second-team All-NBA centre Rudy Gobert, Hood and Derrick Favours. Gobert finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Hood knocked down four 3-pointers as he attempts to pick up the scoring slack left by Hayward.
"Just coming in and being aggressive," Hood said. "My teammates are constantly preaching that to me. We’re going to go as Ricky goes, and we’ve got to be open for him. We’ve got to cut hard for him. We’ve got to get to open spots."