They began with a normal national anthem — nothing planned — as the Charlotte Hornets locked arms down the other end, and by the end of Monday night’s 94-82 exhibition-opening win, the Celtics revealed a little of everything to their first 2017-18 crowd.
Kyrie Irving put his dribble skills — best in the NBA — on display with nine points, three assists and two steals in 19 minutes, and though Gordon Hayward’s shot (2-for-6) barely fell, the new Celtics forward paired with Al Horford to facilitate an offense that was a little too pass happy at times.
Aron Baynes, perhaps the surprise of the evening with 10 points (5-for-8) and five rebounds, muscled up against Dwight Howard better than any Celtics big man in recent memory and clearly frustrated the Hornets center with his physical play.
Marcus Smart (3-for-7) indulged himself from beyond the arc, attempting only one shot (a miss) under 23 feet, and rookie Jayson Tatum, perhaps with a case of the first night nerves (4-for-11), finally hit stride in the second half.
Daniel Theis, the German big forward signed out of the Euroleague, was something of a second half revelation at the rim with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, seven rebounds and a block.