Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Ben Simmons flirted with a triple-double, posting 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but it simply wasn't enough to hang with the Cs.
Hayward, coming off a dislocated ankle and fractured leg, showed obvious signs of rust and was on a minutes restriction, but he was just happy to be playing in a meaningful game once again. The two play in the same division, matching up four times a year, and the cities are separated by 300 miles.
"A lot to work on for me but the joy of being out here was awesome", said Hayward. "Being back out on the court - that was a big hurdle". He missed a driving layup early in the first quarter, and didn't attempt another shot until the second frame.
It would be nice to blame the Sixers struggles opening night on that. but their problems against the Celtics were bigger than frequent flier miles in the preseason.
"Yeah, it definitely crossed my mind, especially warming up and running out through the tunnel, " said Hayward. "Once you're out there on the court it's something that disappears".
But this would-be rivalry is lacking the most important ingredient: Some doubt about what the result is going to be when the teams play.More news: With victory in London, Pete Carroll is Seahawks' winningest coach
We'll be back with some more great content from around the web on Saturday. "It was cool watching it".
Don't read much into Game 1 of 82, but for Celtics fans this was the kind of win that can fuel very big dreams.
"They wanted him to do little hand weights with his arms, so I brought a whole bunch of weights up to the hospital bed in our family room, and I was like, 'OK, let's do those exercises, '" Robyn explained to Boston Herald. "For the first time ever, I got a chance to work on my basketball skills, which I feel like I've already gotten so much better with the help of the coaches and my trainer, Drew [Hanlen]". We all, led by me, have to be reminded that he's 20 years old.
"Part of it is just having patience and realizing that it's not all going to come at once", he said.
Around the rim: First-round pick Robert Williams was on the inactive list for the opener, joining Jabari Bird, who is not with the team while facing domestic assault charges.
The Celtics are loaded with young talents to go along with Horford, Irving and Hayward, and look like a dynasty in the making thanks to Brad Steven's top-tier defensive system.