3 Things We Learned From Celtics' First Preseason Game

Boston uses balanced effort to sink Sixers
Kristaps Porzingis was one of five players to suit up for the Celtics for the first time on Sunday night.
Kristaps Porzingis was one of five players to suit up for the Celtics for the first time on Sunday night. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

After one of the most entertaining offseasons in recent memory, the Boston Celtics unofficially opened the 2023-24 campaign by handing the Philadelphia 76ers a 114-106 loss on Sunday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

It's just one game, so we'll save the overreactions for a later date, but there was still a lot that stood out through the first 48 minutes of a brand new era in Boston.

Extending Payton Pritchard Was the Right Move

Pritchard reportedly agreed to a four-year, $30 million extension on Sunday, and hours later he poured in a game-high 26 points while going 9-for-14 from the field and 6-for-11 from 3-point range.

With the Celtics nursing an 81-80 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Pritchard kicked his game into high gear, scoring 16 of Boston's 33 points in the period to put the 76ers away.

If there were any questions as to whether Pritchard was capable of being a high-volume scorer off the bench, he answered them pretty emphatically on Sunday.

Kristaps Porzingis is Incredible

Boston's first points of the contest came courtesy of a Porzingis triple, and from there, the 7-foot-3 big man quickly took over the spotlight.

Porzingis flashed everything against Philadelphia, scoring from the perimeter, disrupting shots down low, making his way to the free-throw line and slamming home a pair of first-quarter dunks, including one that came after he dropped Danuel House Jr. to the parquet with a hesi.

In 25 minutes on the floor, Porzingis went for 17 points, five rebounds, one assist and one block while canning 5 of 7 shots to send Celtics fans home feeling good about one of the team's newest pickups.

A Title is on Everyone's Mind

Sunday's game more closely resembled Game 7 of the Finals rather than Game 1 of the preseason.

With the talent that this team has, and the moves that were made this offseason to acquire that talent, anything short of a championship is a failure. The front office knows that, as do the coaches, players and fans, who brought the TD Garden to life on Sunday night after it sat dormant for months.

So yes, it might just be one preseason game, but it's hard to deny that something special could be brewing in Boston.