Celtics

On night where stars struggled, Celtics’ bench shows potential as effective second unit

(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

In all the fervor generated with the start of a new NBA campaign — and the potential that comes with it for a loaded Boston Celtics squad — it was easy to block out some of the more pressing questions with this team.

Namely, the instant impact that stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving could provide this club, given that both players are coming off of season-ending injuries in 2017-18.

And while a sold-out TD Garden was treated to pyrotechnics and an intricate light show ahead of the opening tip-off of Tuesday’s season opener against the Sixers, Irving and Hayward’s return was a bit more muted.

Shaking off the rust — and nerves — that come from both extended time on the shelf and the prospect of a fresh start, the star duo struggled to settle into a groove offensively, sinking just six of their combined 26 attempts from the field and totaling 17 points.

But still, the Celtics opened a new season with an impressive victory over Philadelphia, closing out the home tilt with 105-87 final.