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NBA season kicks off: Celtics host Sixers; Irving, Hayward return

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 14: Shirts sit on chairs before a game between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden on October 16, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

BOSTON — The time is finally here.

The NBA season kicks off Monday night with the Boston Celtics hosting the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Celtics completed the preseason with a 1-3 record, with their only win against the Charlotte Hornets, 115-112. The Celtics were defeated twice by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Hornets.

Entering the 2018-19 season, the Celtics are coming off a heart-breaking Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The team managed to thrive off their young core in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier throughout the playoffs, all without their two stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward who were sidelined due to injury.

Hayward Returns After Gruesome Injury 

Hayward, suffered a horrific ankle fracture in the first game of the season against the Cavaliers. Hayward suffered the fracture after he went up for a pass and landed awkwardly on his ankle. Hayward remained on the ground, grimacing in pain with his foot pointed at an awkward angle.

The injury forced Hayward to miss entire NBA season.

In the preseason, Hayward showed positive signs for a comeback. In his first game back, Hayward played 23 minutes and scored 10 points on 2-of-7 shooting and recorded 3 rebounds against the Hornets.

In his second game, Hayward scored 4 points on 1-of-7 shooting, 4 rebounds in 21 minutes in their only preseason win against the Hornets.

In game three against the Cavs, Hayward tallied 7 points on 2-of-6 shooting, 3 rebounds in 15 minutes. In the Celtics final preseason game, Hayward sat out due to lower back pain.

Uncle Drew Is Back

As for Irving, he underwent a knee surgery to remove a tension wire in his left knee in April. The surgery required two screws to be removed. The screws were implanted after his patellar fracture during the 2015 NBA Finals. Irving  developed an infection at the site of the screws, which required to be taken out.

NBA Finals Return

With last year’s season ending the way it did, falling one game short of their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, the Celtics hope the luck of the leprechaun will be on their side this season.

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