2/2 Game Preview: Hornets at Celtics
The Boston Celtics will look to continue their recent winning ways when they host the Charlotte Hornets for the second time this season on Wednesday night.
Boston earned its second straight win in dominant fashion Monday, coasting past visiting Miami 122-92. The Celtics exited the 30-point victory in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two spots behind Charlotte.
The Celtics shot 52.4 percent from the field and made 16 3-pointers in their last outing. They have won four of their last five games and have outscored opponents by a 30.5-point average margin in those recent victories.
"It shows us if we continue to guard the way we have been, we're going to have a good chance every night," Boston coach Ime Udoka said. "And when the offense gets to playing faster, and making shots and sharing the ball, it gets contagious."
Jaylen Brown scored 29 points and Jayson Tatum had 20 to lead six Celtics in double figures in Monday's game following the duo's combined 69-point performance against New Orleans on Saturday. Brown was 11-for-19 from the field and hit three 3-pointers as he finished January scoring an average of 26.1 points per game.
Marcus Smart added 16 points and a team-leading seven assists.
The Celtics never trailed and led by as many as 32 against Miami, which was without several key players, including Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.
"The games, we're racking up these wins, the more wins you continue to (get), the better you feel about yourself," Smart said. "You start to feel better, those shots that you were missing start to go in, things like that. So we've got to keep it up. Everybody's in good spirits, and that's how it should be."
Guards Dennis Schroder (Achilles) and Romeo Langford (heel) both saw limited action against the Heat.
Charlotte won back-to-back games prior to Sunday's 115-90 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, who used a 7-0 run to end the third quarter and a 11-3 run at the beginning of the fourth to take the victory. The trip to Boston is Charlotte's only road game in a stretch of seven that began last Friday.
The Hornets, who played without former Celtic Gordon Hayward (health and safety protocol) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (left-ankle sprain), were held to a season-low 90 points and 32.7 percent shooting.
"Struggled to shoot it. We could have had better shot selection overall," Charlotte coach James Borrego said. "They're a good defense, but offensively, we just went dry. We couldn't make shots. Poor decisions, they sped us up. ... We hung in there as long as we could, but it opened up. We obviously struggled at the end of the third and start of the fourth."
LaMelo Ball was a bright spot for Charlotte as he posted his 16th double-double of the season with 23 points and 10 assists, marking his fourth straight game with 20 or more points.
Ball logged a triple-double and Terry Rozier had 28 points and 10 assists to lead the way in a 111-102 road win over the Celtics on Jan. 19, the second of four head-to-head meetings between the teams this season. The Hornets are 10-22 all-time in Boston.
Boston notched a 140-129 overtime road win over Charlotte on Oct. 25 in the first meeting.