Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown completely embarrassed Joel Embiid in season-opener

Alex Reimer
October 17, 2018 - 9:20 am

Joel Embiid is one of the most intimidating forces in the NBA. The 7-foot center is dominant in the paint and often pulverizes the competition. But in the Celtics’ win over the Sixers Tuesday, the roles were reversed. Embiid was the one who got bullied.

Boston won its season-opener against the 76ers 105-87, despite receiving only 26 points from Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Irving was especially bad, going 2-for-14 from the field and missing all but one of his eight three-point attempts. 

With the Celtics’ star veterans struggling, their incredible young nucleus took over the game, and brought the fight right to Embiid. The exclamation point came with roughly four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, when Jayson Tatum buried a fadeaway right in Embiid’s face –– and gave him a wink for good measure afterwards.

The Tatum jump shot followed Jaylen Brown’s attempt at posterizing Embiid, which resulted in two points, even though Embiid did get his hand on the ball. Brown’s decision to right at Embiid in the paint shows his fearlessness, and how quickly the third-year forward has grown up.

The usually cocky Embiid was conciliatory in defeat, telling reporters the Celtics “always kick their ass.” That’s an appropriate response from a 7-footer who was rejected by Terry Rozier, who stands at 6-foot-1.

In addition to being one of the deepest teams in the NBA, the Celtics are battle-tested. They’ve been to two consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, and aren’t afraid of the moment –– or Embiid. It’s shaping up to be a special season.