Boston’s defense showed up just in the nick of time Sunday night as the Celtics stormed from behind to capture a 107-106 win over the visiting Hornets.
Behind the fivesome of Carsen Edwards, Marcus Smart, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams and Enes Kanter, the Celtics held Charlotte scoreless for the final 5:34 of the third quarter while trimming a 16-point deficit all the way down to one.
Brad Wanamaker completed the comeback with 8:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, when he converted a three-point play on an and-one layup to give Boston an 87-85 lead. That was Boston’s first lead since the final minute of the first half, when it owned a 56-55 advantage.
Many of the youngest Celtics, led by Javonte Green and his 15 fourth-quarter points, took the reins from there to lead the team to victory.
The supreme defense that the Celtics played during that final stretch of the third quarter proved to be the difference in the game. Boston forced Charlotte into nine straight misses from the field and four turnovers over the final 5:34 of the quarter.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the court, the C’s shot 6-for-8 from the field. Jayson Tatum, who was replaced by Semi Ojeleye about a minute into the run, and Carsen Edwards each accounted for five points during the 15-0 spurt.
Jayson Tatum was everything the Celtics wanted him to be on offense Sunday night. He wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to concentrate on 3-pointers and layups this season; that’s basically all he did against Charlotte.
Tatum shot 8-for-14 from the field en route to a game-high 20 points during 23-plus minutes of action. Eight of hs 14 attempts were from beyond the arc, and another four were from inside the restricted area. He made three of his eight treys, and all four of his layups.
Only two of his shots, one of which was a make, were released from the mid-range.
Tatum also contributed four rebounds, a game-high three steals, one assist and one block. He was very active at the defensive end, using his length to consistently take away and disrupt passing lanes.
Box Score Nuggets
- Grant Williams (plus-14) and Carsen Edwards (plus-11) led the Celtics in plus/minus rating.
- Jayson Tatum led the game with 20 points and three steals.
- Tatum made three of Boston's 10 3-pointers.
- In his return to TD Garden, Terry Rozier scored nine points and dished out a game-best nine assists.
- Nine Celtics blocked a shot, led by two each from Robert Williams and Tacko Fall.
- Grant Williams led the Celtics with nine rebounds.
- P.J. Washington led Charlotte with 19 points.
- Boston made two more free throws (17) than Charlotte attempted (15).
- The teams combined to commit 48 turnovers, 25 by Charlotte and 23 by Boston.
- Thirteen of the 16 Celtics who appeared in the game scored. All 15 of the Hornets who appeared in the game scored.
Quote of the Night
It is an interesting angle to the game ... It's going to be interesting as we continue to go on. The loss of a timeout makes it really tough.
Brad Stevens on coach's challenges