The Philadelphia 76ers kicked off their season with a hard-fought 107-93 victory over the Boston Celtics at Wells Fargo Center.
The win ended a five-game losing streak on opening night for Philly, who last won a season-opener in 2013.
After a tight first half, the 76ers pulled away courtesy of a 22-6 run over the second and third quarters to blow the game open.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the 76ers' 1-0 start
Simmons paces 76ers to victory
In his first game fresh off of a max contract extension this offseason, Ben Simmons stepped up in a big way to lead the 76ers to victory in their first game of the season.
It wasn't just his level of play either - he looked stronger, faster and more athletic. He was the best player on the floor throughout the game's entirety and 76ers fans should be thrilled that he's locked up for the long-term.
The Aussie star finished with a team-high 24 points in a near-triple-double with nine assists and eight rebounds. He shot an efficient 11-for-16 (68.8%) from the field, which was an impressive feat in a contest where neither team could buy a bucket.
On the defensive end, Simmons did a fantastic job guarding the likes of Jayson Tatum, and Kemba Walker, making things as difficult as possible for the Celtics' offensive stars who shot a combined 12-for-40 (30.0%) from the field.
He had a number of highlights, including this monster dunk in the lane:
pic.twitter.com/dOFgQQT5IT- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 24, 2019
As well as this quirky finish in transition, further proving that it was that type of game for Simmons.
*holds arm in the air* pic.twitter.com/agDr3Up59P- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 24, 2019
The 23-year-old got his season started in the best fashion possible as he looks to lead this team to an NBA title.
76ers starters makes up for lack of depth
It was a storyline we saw an endless number of times last season - the 76ers starters all score in double figures and the team picks up the win, but help from the bench on the offensive end would have been nice.
It's worth specifying on the offensive end, because rookie forward Matisse Thybulle was a problem on defence, making Tatum and Walker work for every bucket when he was on the floor.
.@MatisseThybulle content you will want to see. :wave: pic.twitter.com/8kkBPWmY9U- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 24, 2019
But with that being said, the Sixers' starters produced 87 of the team's 107 points, and the majority of those second unit points came in garbage time with the result already decided.
They outscored the Celtics second unit - which wasn't hard to do as they only tallied 15 points - but Philly's starters were again forced to carry the bulk of the load on the offensive end.
Thybulle has already proven his worth as a defender and guys like Mike Scott and James Ennis do a little bit of everything, but the need for a bucket-getter of the bench is already showing in Game 1 of the 2018-19 season.
Rough night from range for both teams
It was a scrappy affair in Philly, with both teams slowing down the game with an abundance of fouls - 63 for the game - and their poor shooting from the three-point line only making things harder.
Whether it was opening night nerves or a little bit of rust, both teams struggled to get going from beyond the arc, with the 76ers going 7-of-29 and the Celtics managing 7-of-26 on the night.
Kemba Walker, in his first game for Boston scored just 12 points on 1-of-6 shooting from deep, while Marcus Smart went 0-of-4. Jayson Tatum was the lone bright spark from beyond the arc for Boston, going 4-of-8.
Philly's big men combined to go 2-of-10 from deep, with Joel Embiid (1-of-4) and Al Horford (1-of-6) struggling to score away from the rim. Josh Richardson was effective attacking the basket for his 17 points, but went 0-of-4 from the three-point line.
76ers cleaning the glass
A lot of missed threes equals a lot of rebounds and the 76ers did a great job limiting the Celtics' second-chance opportunities with their dominance on the glass.
They outrebounded the Celtics 50-31 for the game, with Joel Embiid (13 rebounds) and Tobias Harris (15) doing the bulk of the damage.
Boston's smaller lineup with Enes Kanter as the only true big man playing extended minutes did them no favours, with Philly's jumbo frontcourt lineup showing how much of a problem they are likely to be for opponents this season.
On nights like this when their shots aren't dropping, the 76ers' physical size and dominance is going to keep them in a lot of games as we saw tonight.
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