After a team meeting following a loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Celtics look to end their three game losing streak tonight against the Charlotte Hornets. Luckily for the Celtics, the team will be home again as they are enjoying a Christmas home stand.
Last time these two teams played, it was the Kemba Walker show as he went off for 43 points. Charlotte won that matchup 117-112. Boston looks to limit a similar outburst knowing that Walker is the focal point of this team. Look for the Celtics to sure up things defensively while having the pieces back on offense to play better than these past three games.
For the Hornets they will need Kemba Walker to work out of his slight decline over the past few weeks. It hasn’t been poor play on his part, but it mainly has been his numbers have regressed a bit. Over the last 10 games, Walker is “only” averaging 19.8 points per game which is down a bit from his season average of 25.0 points per game. Another individual stat that has affected his production is his three-point percentage. On the season, he is shooting 34.8% from three, but in this last 10 game stretch, he is only shooting 27.9%. It is important to note this because almost half of his shots are from behind the arc. If the Celtics can limit his three point percentage, they have a good chance of winning this game.
As for the Celtics, it is good news on the injury front that has ravaged the front court over the past few games. Marcus Morris and Al Horford both look to be active for this game which will provide some much needed offense to the team. Morris has arguably been the MVP of the Celtics this season and his competitive spirit brought another level to this team that was noticeably lacking in losses to the Pistons, Suns, and Bucks.
Similarly with Horford, he does all the little things right that you do not see in the box score after the game. He is the glue that keeps the team together on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Horford will give a huge boost to this team that will be instantly felt. He had been missing games due to precautions on his knees, so we will see if has any minute restrictions for the game.
With these two playing, the injury report will be less detailed than before. Aron Baynes will still be out about 4-6 weeks after he had a successful surgery on his broken hand. For the Hornets, they do not have any reported injuries which is a very strange thing to see close to halfway through the season. It will mostly be the same team the Celtics faced last time in Charlotte.
The starting lineup will have Al and Morris back in the mix which will be a positive bump in production for the Celtics. They will have a loud Sunday crowd to play in front of with Christmas right around the corner. The Celtics should win this game with the better talent on the court, but the easiest things have become hard for them as of late. They need to win this game with conviction with a complete team effort.
PG - Kyrie Irving - Kemba Walker
SG - Marcus Smart - Jeremy Lamb
SF - Jayson Tatum - Nicolas Batum
PF - Marcus Morris Sr. - Marvin Williams
C - Al Horford - Cody Zeller
Boston- Aron Baynes (Hand)
How to Watch
Time- 6:00 EST
TV- NBC Sports Boston