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Playing with “bad intentions”: 10 Takeaways from Celtics-Hornets

Boston finished on a 14-0 run in overtime to get to .500 on the season

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

1. We have to start the Takeaways with this play. It kind of punctuated the whole night for the Celtics. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown linking up for a highlight play is always a great thing:

Brown said he knew Miles Bridges would block his shot if he laid it up. So, Brown said he went up with “bad intentions”. That about sums it up as the Boston finished overtime on a 14-0 run to even their record at 2-2.

2. It would be easy to start the rest of the Takeaways with a bunch of clips of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scoring the ball. They combined for 71 points on 26-of-48 shooting after all. We’ll see some of those buckets, but where Tatum and Brown really stood out was as playmakers. Let’s start with Tatum.

He dished out eight assists. The best part? They were of all kinds of varieties. This isn’t an easy pass, as Tatum finds Payton Pritchard in the opposite corner through some traffic:

This one came off a screen from Robert Williams. Take a second to notice Tatum holding the ball for one extra dribble to draw Gordon Hayward with him. That helps open up Brown for the three-pointer:

This is Tatum knowing situation and personnel. He’s drawn Mason Plumlee, while keeping Kelly Oubre Jr. on his back. That means it’s time to throw it up to where only Robert Williams can get it:

3. Jaylen Brown did some playmaking for others too. This first one is a nice drive-and-kick by Brown to hit Jabari Parker for the corner three:

Later in the game, Brown makes the unselfish play in transition here. He drops it off to Grant Williams for an easy bucket:

Brown and Tatum can always score. When they get the others involved, that’s when the Celtics are at their most dangerous.

4. In the first clip above, Jabari Parker drilled a corner three. He made another on the very next trip. Ime Udoka said postgame, “We know Jabari stays ready and can score.” With Al Horford out, this was a nice chance for Parker to get some minutes and to show what he could do. And he made the most of the opportunity.

Parker’s scoring helped get Boston out of early double-digit deficit. On this play, Parker outran everyone in transition for the dunk:

After two three-pointers and that dunk, Parker was feeling it. That led to this pullup triple off the bounce:

Jaylen Brown said he went up with “bad intentions” over Miles Bridges in overtime. Maybe he was inspired Parker clearly having some bad intentions on this play:

All told, Parker scored 13 points off the bench in the first half to get the Celtics rolling offensively and back into the game. Nice stint for a player who many are rooting for to find a permanent home.

5. Robert Williams made some highlight plays in this one, as he usually does. And he filled the stat sheet too, with 12 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Williams went to the offensive glass six times, showing some impressive timing:

Even in overtime, Williams showed he still had plenty left in his legs:

This is twice now that Boston has needed Williams to play extended minutes. He’s held up great both times. Hopefully that bodes well for the remainder of the season.

6. By no measure would we suggest the Celtics played great defense on the Hornets. But the final points allowed don’t tell the whole story. This was a very fast-paced game, as both teams got up over 100 field goal attempts, and of course there was overtime as well.

The good news? Boston locked in when they had to on defense. They made the key plays. If they can find some consistency with personnel, the defense should improve. Right now, there are some gaps that seem largely related to players not being on the same page. More reps together should clean that up.

7. Marcus Smart hasn’t seemed himself to start the season. He’s been awful offensively and his defense has come-and-gone so far. Smart admitted after the game that he’s been sick for over a week. Smart said he’s had migraines, body aches and blurry vision. He said he wasn’t even sure he could play on Monday night, but decided he had to go with other players out. It’s a good thing he did, because he made one of those Smart plays that only he makes.

After missing a shot that would have given Boston the lead, Charlotte had a chance to take the clock down and take the last shot. But that would have meant inbounding the ball first.

Watch how Smart sprints after Ball on this action. There’s no switching or helping here. This the Celtics best defender becoming “The Unscreenable Marcus Smart” once again. Then it’s a clean steal on the pass:

As Smart said postgame, “I missed some shots, but you guys know the player I am. I’m gonna make up for it. I’m going to make plays. And I made a couple of them.”

8. Grant Williams turned in another solid effort off the bench for Boston. Williams did a little bit of everything. He seems to be thriving in his natural position at the four. Playing that spot allows Williams to make the best use of his skills on both ends. If this keeps up, it will be more notable when Williams has a rough game vs a standout one.

9. Dennis Schroder in the starting lineup seems to be working out ok. He’s not a super-clean fit alongside Marcus Smart, but it can work out ok. Mostly, Schroder has gotten the team playing a little faster. Ime Udoka said the team wants to play with more pace. Schroder is a go, go, go type with the ball. That causes everyone else to run with him, and it’s opened up some scoring opportunities as a result.

10. Boston got back to .500 on the young season. Now, the Celtics have a home-and-home with the Washington Wizards. The first one is in Boston on Wednesday, then the team has two days off before a late-afternoon tilt in Washington on Saturday. This is a good early measuring stick for the Celtics. The Wizards are good, but not great. They are a team Boston should beat. Doing so would continue to put this team on the right path forward.

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