A YEAR LATER, SIXERS STILL CAN’T SOLVE THE CELTICS!

By Lewis Gould

You could have closed your eyes and imagined last night’s season opener between the Sixers and the Celtics had been played last May in the second round of the playoffs.

That’s how similar the script and the results were.

Jayson Tatum (above) had 23 points and nine rebounds and the Celtics beat the Sixers 105-87, despite shooting just 43 percent (42 of 97) from the field and 30 percent from the 3-point line (11 of 37).

But the Celtics’ struggles didn’t dampen the mood inside TD Garden for the return to regular-season action for Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

Hayward said it was “amazing” to be back out there.

Marcus Morris added 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Al Horford had nine points and five blocks.

The Celtics survived a lethargic start and rough shooting night but rallied to lead by as many as 18 in the second half.

Including the playoffs, Boston has won 10 straight games at home over Philly, which it defeated in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

Embiid made it clear afterward the 76ers have a way to go to be on the Celtics’ level.

“This not a rivalry,” he said. “I don’t know our record against them. But it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass. So this is not a rivalry.”

Hayward played in his first game since undergoing surgery and more than 10 months of rehabilitation for the gruesome left ankle injury he suffered five minutes into last year’s season opener.

He received an extended ovation from the home crowd during a pregame introduction that included a video montage of his rehab process.

Irving was also back following a pair of surgeries on his left knee that caused him to miss the end of the regular season and playoffs.

After receiving loud ovations during pregame introductions, Irving and Hayward both had sluggish starts.

Hayward missed his first four shots before making back-to-back jumpers. Irving missed his first nine attempts from the field. He didn’t score until finally connecting on a pair of free throws early in the third quarter.

They shot a combined 6 for 26 for the game. Hayward finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. Irving had seven points and seven assists.

The Celtics missed seven of their first 10 shots and the Sixers started just 4 for 11. The Sixers also committed 11 first-half turnovers that led to 10 Celtics’ points.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he isn’t worried.

“If we can guard like that, we’ve got a chance to be decent,” he said.

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