With just 19 days remaining until opening night, we inched one step closer to the 2018-19 NBA season when preseason action tipped off Friday night.
There were plenty of stories to follow, as Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers opened the night with a 20-point victory over 2018 NBL Champion Melbourne United.
Embiid led all scorers with 20 points followed by Markelle Fultz, who chipped in 14 points in 23 minutes. JJ Redick (13) and Dario Saric (12) also finished in double figures, while Ben Simmons added eight points, 14 assists and eight rebounds.
Later on in the evening, fans saw the Celtics duo of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving take the floor together for the first time in over 11 months, but Boston suffered a seven-point loss to All-Star Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets.
Walker (12) was one of seven Hornets to score in double figures, with Jeremy Lamb's 15 points leading the way. Rookie Miles Bridges added 10 points and a number of memorable highlights.
The Celtics were led by 14 points from Jaylen Brown and 12 points from reserve forward Marcus Morris. Irving (9 points) and Hayward (10 points) both looked good in 22 minutes of action.
If you missed any of the action, check below for stats and highlights from the first NBA action in over three months.
NBA Preseason Night 1 - Scores, highlights, live updates
Box Scores: United vs. 76ers | Celtics vs. Hornets
Charlotte Hornets 104, Boston Celtics 97
9:55 p.m. - After trailing by as many as 20 points, the Hornets rally to earn a seven point win over the Celtics.
Jeremy Lamb lead all scorers with 15 points, while rookie Miles Bridges added 10 points and a few highlight dunks.
In his first action in nearly a year, Gordon Hayward finished with 10 points, while Kyrie Irving added nine. Both stars saw 22 minutes of action.
That's a W! 🔥@LendingTree | #Hornets30 pic.twitter.com/0OtJXwzkNx- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) September 29, 2018
9:40 p.m. - The rookie Miles Bridges makes his mark with a monster putback jam.
"OHHH!!! @MilesBridges HOW DO YOU DO???" -Eric Collins- FOX Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnFSSE) September 29, 2018
Welcome to the league rook! With Authority!!! 💪💪💪#BuzzCity #BOSatCHA pic.twitter.com/nNOYoTFNlN
9:34 p.m. - Behind 15 points from Jeremy Lamb, the Hornets hold a five-point lead over the Celtics with 7:32 remaining.
Celtics with a 91-86 lead and 7:32 left on the ⏰@jlamb 15p/4r/3a@CodyZeller 13p/7r/3b@willyhg94 9p/7r/2a- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) September 29, 2018
9:20 p.m. - Charlotte takes a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.
↗️@LendingTree | #Hornets30 pic.twitter.com/JUyMzCBYXy- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) September 29, 2018
9:00 p.m. - Just over five minutes into the third quarter, the Hornets have used a 23-11 run to cut the deficit to three.
8:35 p.m. - Halftime in Chapel Hill and the Celtics lead 60-45. The Celtics Jaylen Brown and Hornets Jeremy Lamb lead all scorers with 12 points.
HALFTIME@LendingTree | #Hornets30 pic.twitter.com/LC55DRiPAR- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) September 29, 2018
8:05 p.m. - Tony Parker enters the game in a Charlotte Hornets uniform and yes, it looks as weird as you'd think.
Tony Parker checks into the game as a Charlotte Hornet.- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 29, 2018
This is real life. pic.twitter.com/D57mcUA8uK
7:52 p.m. - Gordon Hayward is back! The Celtics forward gets on the board early
👏 Gordon Hayward is officially BACK IN ACTION! 👏@celtics x @hornets - #NBAPreseason- NBA (@NBA) September 28, 2018
📺: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/WkP59ZmS7c
7:43 p.m. - More preseason action is underway! The Celtics and Hornets have tipped off in Chapel Hill.
.@hornets basketball is back!!!! 🏀🏀🏀#BuzzCity #BOSatCHA pic.twitter.com/BqhTcjUKHt- FOX Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnFSSE) September 28, 2018
6:45 p.m. - All-Star Gordon Hayward is getting up some pre-game shots for the first time in 49 weeks.
Gordon Hayward is ready to play in his first NBA game since Oct. 17, 2017. pic.twitter.com/auBcP1eJ9O- Jordan Greer (@jordangreer42) September 28, 2018
6:04 p.m. - Head coach Brad Stevens confirms Boston will roll out a starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford.
Brad Stevens confirms his starting five for tonight: Irving, Brown, Hayward, Tatum, Horford.- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 28, 2018
5:30 p.m. - New year, new coach, new starting lineup for the Charlotte Hornets.
Head Coach James Borrego says tonight's starters will be Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Nic Batum, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller. #BuzzCity- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) September 28, 2018
Philadelphia Sixers 104, Melbourne United 84
9:20 p.m. - Philadelphia earns the 20-point win over Melbourne behind a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double from Joel Embiid.
2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons added eight points and dished out 14 assists and 2017 No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz added 14 points and four assists.
8:54 p.m. - Markelle Fultz! The former No. 1 pick's jumper is looking smooth.
S P L A S H- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 29, 2018
📺: @NBCSPhilly+ pic.twitter.com/EOhlVRuqXb
8:52 p.m. - Through three, Philadelphia leads Melbourne by 17 points. Joel Embiid (20), Markelle Fultz (14) and JJ Redick (13) are leading the scoring for the Sixers.
Final frame on the way. pic.twitter.com/Y9htFmR5Su- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 29, 2018
8:03 p.m. - Markelle Fultz making things happen off the bounce!
Spinnin' and dishin'.- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 29, 2018
📺: @NBCSPhilly+ pic.twitter.com/uvhImQEhex
7:20 p.m. - Three minutes into the preseason and Ben Simmons is already in midseason form.
7:11 p.m. - Things are underway in Philadelphia and the 2018 preseason has officially begun.
6:05 p.m. - Philly prepares ahead of tonight's preseason opener. Per PhillyVoice.com's Kyle Neubeck , 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz will start in place of J.J. Redick tonight.
Could we interest you in some basketball?#HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/mWbheCAa2M- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 28, 2018