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Boston Celtics (1-1) at Charlotte Hornets (0-2) Preseason Game #3 10/7/22

The Celtics look to get back to winning as they visit the Charlotte Hornets for their second meeting of the preseason.

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

This is the second preseason game for both of these teams. The Celtics won their first game 134-93 over these same Hornets in Boston. The Celtics then lost on Wednesday to the Raptors while the Hornets lost 122-97 to the Pacers on Wednesday. These two teams have met 116 times in the regular season with Boston leading the series 71-45. Charlotte won 43 games last season and finished 10th in the East while the Celtics won 51 games and finished 2nd in the East.

I was guessingthat both teams would go with the same starters and limit their minutes. Both coaches likely know what they have in their starters and may want to give their camp invites some extra playing time. Gary Washburn of the Globe tweeted that all the first unit guys were on the court working out well after the shoot around ended and he didn’t expect any of them to play in this game, so who knows who will be starting.

The Celtics will once again be without Robert Williams, who is recovering from recent surgery to clean up some damage in his knee. They will also be without Danilo Galinari, who tore his ACL while playing for the Italian National team. Luke Kornet missed the first two games and is questionable for this game. Blake Griffin was not signed in time for the first game and did not play in the second game. He is expected to play in this game, probably around 10-12 minutes.

For the Hornets, Cody Martin will likely be out due to left knee tendinitis. Dennis Smith missed Wednesday’s game for personal reasons and is expected to miss this game also. Gordon Hayward was a late scratch for Sunday’s game with a knee injury and missed Wednesday’s game and is doubtful for this game. Xavier Sneed was signed on Thursday to an Exhibit 10 contract and may or may not be available for this game.

Probable Celtics Starters

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford

Celtics Reserves
Malcolm Brogdon
Sam Hauser
Payton Pritchard
Grant Williams
Blake Griffin
JD Davison (2 Way)
Justin Jackson
Mfiondu Kabengele (2 Way)
Jake Layman
Luka Samanic
Brodric Thomas
Noah Vonleh

Danilo Gallinari (ACL) out
Luke Kornet (ankle) day to day
Robert Williams III (knee) out
Blake Griffin (conditioning) probable

Head Coach
Joe Mazzulla

Probable Hornets Starters

PG: LaMelo Ball
SG: Terry Rozier
SF: Kelly Oubre, Jr
PF: PJ Washington
C: Mason Plumlee

Hornets Reserves
Jaylen Sims
Jalen Crutches
Mark Williams
Bryce McGowens (two way)
Anthony Duruji
Isaiah Whaley
James Bouknight
Jalen McDaniels
Nick Richards
JT Thor
Kai Jones
LiAngelo Ball

Cody Martin (knee) out
Dennis Smith, Jr (personal) out
Gordon Hayward (knee) out
Xavier Sneed (conditioning) questionable

Head Coach
Steve Clifford

Key Matchups

Derrick White vs Terry Rozier
Former Celtic Terry Rozier always takes games against the Celtics very seriously and approaches them with a chip on his shoulder. Last season he averaged 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He shot 44.4% from the field and 37.4% from beyond the arc. He will likely be matched with Derrick White, who is very capable of limiting Rozier’s scoring.

Marcus Smart vs LaMelo Ball
Former Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball, played very well last season. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 42.9% from the field and 38.9% from beyond the arc. Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart will do his best to slow Ball down in this one.

Honorable Mention
Jayson Tatum vs PJ Washington
With the Celtics playing small, Tatum will likely be matched up with Washington at power forward. Last season, Washington averaged 10.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Tatum has started off a bit slowly in the first games so far, going 10-27 (37%) from the field and 2-15 (13%) from beyond the arc in the two games so far. Hopefully he will get back on track in this game.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always a key to winning games. The Celtics were first in defense last season and they have the players to be an elite defensive team this season as well. The Hornets were 28th in points allowed on drives in the paint last season but Steve Clifford has vowed to turn that around this season. The Celtics rotation players have picked up where they left off last season, playing tough defense in the first two games. They need to continue that emphasis on defense in this game.

Rebound - Second to defense is rebounding. Much of rebounding is effort and hustle. The Celtics need to crash the boards as a team and fight for every rebound. The Celtics must beat the Hornets to rebounds to give themselves extra possessions and to keep the Hornets from getting the same. The Celtics averaged 50.5 rebounds in the first two games while the Hornets averaged 46 rebounds in their first two games.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to work hard right from the tip and vow that teams will not out-work them. The Celtics have a lot of talent, but talent without effort won’t win games. The Celtics must be more aggressive on the boards, on defense, on going for loose balls and they have to be aggressive in going to the basket. They can’t allow the Hornets to play harder than them. The Hornets will likely be looking to avenge their loss to the Celtics on Sunday and the Celtics need to be ready for their best effort in this one.

Take Care of the Ball - In the preseason, we often see teams commit a lot of turnovers due to trying to work out the kinks and getting used to playing with each other. The Celtics turned the ball over 23 times on Sunday and they have to do much better in this game. They have to work to limit those turnovers. If the Celtics can take care of the ball and limit turnovers, they have a good chance to get a win in this game.

Preseason - It’s still the preseason and both teams are still working on lineups and chemistry and conditioning. We may see limited minutes for the starters and also some creative lineups as both coaches look to evaluate the camp players as Mazzulla did on Wednesday against the Raptors. It may not be very pretty basketball if the end of the bench players once again get a lot of playing time.

On the Road - The Celtics are playing their first preseason game on the road. The starters and key reserves should do fine on the road as all have been there before and they played very well on the road last season. Younger players often struggle on the road and so we may see some of the younger players struggle more than normal. Also, the officials tend to favor the home team so the Celtics may not be getting a lot of favorable calls in this one.

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