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Celtics swat the Hornets 126-94

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Celtics win their second straight game without Kyrie Irving pretty easily.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

On the strength of Starter Terry Rozier and the Jays, the Boston Celtics defeated the Charlotte Hornets 126-94. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum took turns grilling the Hornets early, and Al Horford (14 points, 7 rebounds & 5 assists) paced the team with a balanced effort on both ends for the Celtics to improve to 32-19.

Jayson Tatum took on an increased offensive role with Kyrie Irving sitting out. With a couple of highlight plays and smooth shooting, Tatum ensured that the third quarter was the beginning of the end for the Hornets. He finished with 20 points on 60% shooting and a +26 net rating. Jaylen Brown brought his own highlight reel to the game with his aggressive attack both in transition and in the halfcourt. Brown finished with a game-high 24 points to go with 10 rebounds.

Good night for potential Pelicans pla- never mind.

Kemba Walker was his usual self, scoring 21 points with 2 assists on 45% shooting. Nicolas Batum and Malik Monk both chipped in 13 points each which clearly wasn’t enough help for Walker considering the final score.

The game was close through 2 quarters, but the Celtics came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders after the halftime break. The ball whipped around the court and the defense was pristine. Rozier was a big part of this, notching 10 assists through just 3 quarters. He finished the game with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists. Boston outscored Charlotte 35-16 in the third quarter.

The third quarter featured a couple of highlights including this:

and this:

File that one in the “Marcus Smart for 2018-19 Defensive Player of the Year” folder.

The Celtics notched a ridiculous 34 assists on the night. The game went by quickly on the strength of a combined 10 freethrows by both team through 3 quarters. The Hornets only took 2 of those. The fourth quarter brought a quicker whistle, but with the Celtics’ lead well over 20, the final 12 minutes were a mere formality. Solid win for a team missing their best player.

The Celtics will next take their momentum into a Friday night matchup against the New York Knicks at 7:30PM EST on ESPN.