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:
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.