Despite Kyrie's return to Cleveland, the Gordon Hayward injury is the major storyline coming out of the season opener for Boston. About six minutes into the game, Hayward elevated for an alley-oop and came down awkwardly on his ankle. It was a gruesome scene, and the severity could be seen immediately on the players' faces. Following the injury, the Celtics (understandably) came out flat, but displayed a lot of grit and determination in the second-half and just about stole the game from the Cavs.

Game MVP

Jaylen Brown (25 points/six rebounds) showed why he was the third overall pick in last year's draft.

After an up-and-down rookie season that included some big-time playoff minutes, his game appears to have taken a leap. One of the Celtics' highlights came early in the first quarter with Brown flying down the floor, receiving a pass from Jayson Tatum, and flushing it over LeBron James.

But as good as Brown was on the offensive end, he struggled to guard James (29 points/16 rebounds/nine assists). But it's hard to hold that against the 20-year old when the King was his unstoppable self.

The rest of the starters

Kyrie Irving (22 points/10 assists) is a special player. In a big game filled with superstars, Irving has the ability to be the best player on the floor. He came close tonight, but couldn't knock down a three-point shot over LeBron James to force overtime.

In his first game as a Celtic, Kyrie did what Kyrie does—get buckets. He shook off the Cleveland boos by scoring the first two points of the game but appeared visibly shaken as Hayward was being tended to on the court. Just like the rest of his team, he came out strong in the second-half and led the Celtics on their comeback, but this wasn't his or Boston's night.

Jayson Tatum played like a rookie in the first-half. He got pushed around by Jae Crowder and wasn't able to show off his sweet shooting stroke. But he found his game after halftime, finishing with 14 points/10 rebounds. With Hayward out, Tatum may see his offensive responsibilities increase sooner than expected. Center Al Horford was solid offensively (nine points/seven boards/five assists) and battled down low, but like the rest of the team, he is going to have to step up his game as well.

The bench

Marcus Smart was the first player off the bench for the Celtics. A lot was expected of Smart in the sixth-man role, but with the Hayward injury, he may move into the starting lineup. Smart struggled with his shot in the first-half but played a big part in the Celtics comeback (12 points/nine rebounds), schooling Cavs players (except LeBron James) in the post.

Final thoughts

Cavs vs. Celtics would have been a high-level, intense matchup before the Isaiah Thomas/Kyrie Irving trade. But with Irving forcing his way out of Cleveland and his recent passive-aggressive comments against the city, made it all the more intriguing. Games involving these teams will have more spice once Thomas returns, but the injury to Hayward will have an unfortunate effect on the rivalry and the season.