Keys to the Game: Celtics 108, Hornets 100

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

jQuery(document).ready(function() { addByline("Marc D'Amico", "Celtics.com", "Marc_DAmico"); keysToTheGame('post'); });

Key Moment

Boston’s starters, and most of the team for that matter, were dominant through the first three quarters of Wednesday night’s matchup with the Hornets. The fourth quarter was not so pretty, but the C’s were still able to outlast Charlotte 108-100.

The Celtics owned a 14-point heading into the final quarter. They had outshot the Hornets 53.1 percent to 39.4 percent. It was a dominant effort.

But Charlotte never caved and its bench pulled together during the final period, all while Boston’s bench struggled. The Hornets went on a 15-3 run to take a 97-96 lead with 3:50 remaining in the game.

Boston had just enough to rebuff its only deficit of the game since the score was 2-0 in favor of Charlotte. Semi Ojeleye answered on the C’s next possession with a 3-pointer from the left corner to push Boston back in front by two with 3:26 remaining, and the team never trailed again.

Shane Larkin put the game away with his driving, and-one bucket with 45.5 seconds remaining in the game. That basket provided the C’s with a comfortable 104-98 lead.

This one wound up being closer than anyone anticipated heading into the fourth quarter, but the margin of victory doesn’t matter to Boston. They held on for the win and completed a perfect 4-0 preseason.

Key Player

So, Kyrie Irving is pretty good. We’ll go into more depth on that later tonight. For now? Let’s just concentrate on the numbers he put up Wednesday night.

Irving, during his fourth and final exhibition game of the preseason, was electric from start to finish in Charlotte. He logged a double-double consisting of 16 points and 10 assists while playing only 27 minutes. Oh, and he also did not commit a single turnover while also pitching in five rebounds and a steal.

The point guard is a top-notch finisher in the paint, but on this night he hit from everywhere on the floor. He canned three midrange jumpers, two 3-pointers, and two finishes in the paint. Irving shot 7-for-11 from the field on the night.

What did that line help to do for Boston? Well, the Celtics outscored the Hornets by 22 points while Irving was on the floor.

In other words, Irving was a game-changer – just as expected.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Four of Boston’s five starters scored between 12 and 16 points.
  • Kyrie Irving led the group with 16 points and also led the game with 10 assists.
  • Malik Monk led all scorers with 21 points.
  • Boston committed only 13 turnovers.
  • The C’s made 50.6 percent of their field goals and 50.0 percent of their 3s.
  • Boston tallied 26 assists on 43 baskets.
  • Jaylen Brown blocked a game-high two shots.
  • None of Charlotte’s starters scored more than 12 points. Three of them scored exactly 12 points.
  • Irving, Brown and Al Horford each logged a plus-22 in the plus/minus category.
  • Five Celtics grabbed one steal apiece to account for the team’s five steals.

Quote of the Night

Brad Stevens on the team’s growth.