The Celtics beat the Hornets 102-91 tonight for their first wire-to-wire victory of the season. A lackluster 3rd quarter prevented this from becoming a put-your-feet-up-and-watch-Abdel-and-Yabu-play kind of night, but beggars can’t be choosers.
I’ll take any win, especially one when three rotation players (Jaylen Brown – knee, Marcus Morris – knee, and Semi Ojeleye – back) are confined to the bench.
Kyrie Irving (21 points, 8 assists) and Al Horford tortured the Hornets early and often in the PnR. The lead after one quarter was 28-16. The Celtics unleashed a 3-point barrage (7-11) in the 2nd quarter. It wasn’t Kyrie or Jayson Tatum or Bizarro Marcus Smart but Shane Larkin who buried 3-bombs. Boston took a quasi-comfortable 60-44 lead into halftime.
The 3rd quarter was our recurring nightmare (and not that weird one involving your ex). Those shots that fell in the 1st half, predictably stopped falling. Boston went 7-23 FG (2-10 3 FG) in the quarter. Meanwhile, Charlotte made 17 trips to the FT line. The Cs lead was one going into the 4th quarter. But unlike the other awful losses, the Celtics didn’t screw around. They made smart plays and hustled. Oh, and Jayson Tatum happened. The rook churned out 10 of his 18 points over the final 12 minutes. Aggressive Tatum is fun to watch. A lot of fun.
Hot or Not
Horford had 20 points (8-11 FG) and 11 rebounds. Amazingly, this was his first 20-and-10 game as a Celtic.
Terry Rozier (15 points, 5-10 FG) and Shane Larkin (11 points, 4-6 FG) led the charge off the short-handed bench.
Boston shot 7-11 (64%) from 3 in the 2nd quarter. They finished 15-34 (44%).