PHILADELPHIA – The 2022-23 Philadelphia 76ers played the first game in front of their home crowd on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In their preseason home opener, the Sixers treated the fans to a thrilling 113-112 victory over the Cavs.

Joel Embiid played his first game with P.J. Tucker, as the duo sat out the prior game. James Harden and Danuel Hosue Jr. did the same but all four played against the Cavs. Embiid had 12 points in 6-13 shooting, six rebounds and three assists. Harden contributed nine points on 3-9 shooting and five assists.

“I thought there was times where the offense was a bit ugly with either shots or turnovers or lack of execution,” said assistant coach Dave Joerger, who stepped in for Doc Rivers as he felt under the weather. “But nobody put their heads down. We have a great spirit and guys went out and competed for each other.”

Sixers fans were very pumped up to see their team back in action and were loud and proud as the game went on for many reasons. Here are three takeaways from the first contest at the Wells Fargo Center of the 2022-23 campaign.

3. P.J. Tucker, ultimate glue guy

In his first game in Sixers threads, P.J. Tucker did not register a single point. He did, however, play his way into Philly fans' hearts immediately with his hustle and defense. Everyone knows that he's an impactful player even if the stats don't show it, making him a not-so-secret weapon that Philadelphia will benefit from tremendously.

Tucker's offensive contributions came as a screener and rebounder. As the Sixers swung the ball to a shooter (Maxey or Tobias Harris in tonight's case), Tucker got right in front of the nearest defender and planted himself firmly. The flare screen action could end up being a staple of the offense.

Additionally, Tucker laid out for offensive rebounds, securing two in one trip down the court. The Sixers' oldest player on the team diving for a board twice in one possession sends a message that the Philly crowd loved: 110 percent energy, no matter what.

Joerger noted how the crowd reacted as Tucker fought for those boards. “The whole place was like, ‘Ah, that's our P.J. now! That's our guy!' He's gonna be very loved here, in the way that he plays hard-nosed,” he said.

Tucker showed his defensive versatility when he guarded Donovan Mitchell. Although Mitchell still had himself a strong showing, the fact that Tucker drew the assignment shows once again what a Swiss army knife he is. Sixers fans were

2. Tyrese Maxey's All-Star campaign has started

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Feel free to call this an overreaction to the preseason. You may be sorry when 20-point halves continue to be routine for Tyrese Maxey. An All-Star nomination is well within reach for him.

After balling out in the Sixers' preseason opener, he took it right to the Cavs. He once again shot from deep with pure confidence and finished at the hoop time after time. The 21-year-old scored 21 points on 9-11 shooting as well as a pair of assists. “We all know what a joy he is to be around, so when he has success, it’s such a cool feeling,” Joerger said.

Maxey is dangerous enough when he has the ball. If defenses have to constantly stick with him off the ball due to his spot-up shooting while worrying about Embiid and Harden, it's going to be extremely tough to stop the Sixers' offense. Maxey's huge scoring nights hint that an All-Star season is on the way, but he isn't too focused on that.

1. Paul Reed has the lead for backup center

Although Joerger filled in for Rivers tonight, he said that he was looking to do things that Rivers usually would. One such move was using Paul Reed as the key backup behind Embiid.

Reed was the first big off the bench for the Sixers. He had been the backup center during training camp, as well. Montrezl Harrell didn't see the floor until a few minutes into the third quarter. Later in the game, the two played together in the frontcourt to give them a size advantage.

Harrell ended up having the highlight of the night: a contested layup to take the lead with less than 30 seconds left. He ended the night with 13 points on 5-7 shooting, three boards and two assists.

Because of the impact that Reed can have on defense, this may not simply be an instance of a coaching staff letting a youngster get more preseason burn than a veteran. Reed and Harrell will likely be fighting for the backup center spot all season. But the Sixers will win no matter what, as both players give the team a physical edge.