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Celtics dominate Hornets in preseason opener, win 134-93

Boston’s first game of the year was a massive success.

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

Boston Celtics basketball is back. They opened up their preseason slate on Sunday afternoon against the Charlotte Hornets, earning a dominant 134-93 win. After a relatively even first quarter, Boston blew things open in the second, winning the quarter by 17 points. Charlotte wasn’t able to recover for the remainder of the contest.

Jaylen Brown stole the show for the Celtics, dropping 24 points, five rebounds, and an assist on 8-for-11 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 shooting from deep. He was firing on all cylinders, even when his co-star, Jayson Tatum, struggled to find his rhythm. It looked like Brown could do no wrong.

Tatum ended the night with 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists on just 4-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-8 shooting from three-point range.

Boston’s newest addition also played well, as Malcolm Brogdon shined in the passing game. He tallied 11 points and five rebounds, but his nine assists led the way for Boston, showing just how impactful he can be as a ball-handler for the Celtics. He played 24:23 minutes off the bench.

And while injuries plagued Boston’s frontcourt all summer, their backup options looked solid in their preseason debuts. Sam Hauser was the star, however, as his elite three-point shooting was on full display. The sophomore forward finished the game with 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and 4-for-5 shooting from distance.

Grant Williams performed well, too, showing off his improved quickness and more versatile game. The 23-year-old had eight points, four rebounds, and four assists, nailing two threes in the process. As Boston looks for answers in their frontcourt, he’ll likely be handed an even larger role.

On top of that, Boston’s lower-tier center options showed out as well. Mfiondu Kabengele, who is on a two-way contract, made his presence known, bringing contagious energy to the floor while looking like a Robert Williams clone. He may not quite have the defensive presence or hops of Williams (although, he’s close when it comes to the latter), but his 10 points and three rebounds don’t do his performance justice.

Noah Vonleh, who is on an Exhibit-9 deal with Boston, looked like a decent backup big option, too. His seven points and nine rebounds came in tandem with some solid hustle down low.

Every player on Boston’s roster earned playing time, with the training-camp invites continuing the Celtics’ onslaught in garbage time.

For Charlotte, nothing was falling. They ended the night shooting just 5-for-33 from three-point range, as Kelly Oubre Jr. led them in scoring with 17 points. Star point guard LaMelo Ball finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists on just 5-of-19 shooting from the field.

Boston did struggle in the turnover department, committing 23 giveaways, and they got out-rebounded on the offensive glass eight to 16. However, their 41 assists on 48 made field goals made up for that.

The Celtics will be back in action on Wednesday, October 5 against Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors. That game tips off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

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