C’s Shake Off Hornets Stinger, Look Ahead to Homestand
Boston’s 125-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets Sunday afternoon may have been a more concerning type of defeat earlier in the season when it was struggling with inconsistency. But after putting together three consecutive weeks of winning basketball, the Celtics view it simply as a small blemish on what has been an otherwise successful April stretch.
This matinee matchup was a case of one team playing its best game of the year, as Charlotte recorded season-highs of 40 assists and 21 made 3-pointers, and the other team just being a step too slow.
“They moved the ball really well,” said Jaylen Brown, who logged 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals in his first game back from a shoulder injury. “We weren’t as prepared to play as they were. They came out of the gate with more energy than us. There are days like that. But we think that, for the most part, we’ve been playing some good basketball. I just think that the Hornets came out and really, really got it going.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was straight to the point with his assessment of the matchup, saying how his team “got outplayed, outcoached, and out-hustled.”
Stevens and his players directed all credit toward Charlotte for the way it came out of the gate and maintained its upbeat style of play. The Hornets used their speed to push the ball in transition, they were flying around in the half-court, and they moved the ball like a hot potato. The Celtics, meanwhile, looked like a team that wasn’t energized enough for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
“They played hard on both ends of the floor,” said Kemba Walker, who tied Brown for the team-lead in scoring with 20 points of his own. “They didn’t let us get into any rhythm. They made shots, they got a rhythm. They just outplayed us.”
Boston’s sluggish play led to several familiar questions about inconsistency during the post-game media sessions, but Brown was quick to shut down such inquiries. He reminded everyone how well his team had been playing of late, having won nine of its last 11 prior to its current two-game skid on the road.
“I think that it’s wise to move forward,” Brown said, not dwelling on his team’s latest loss. “I think the last few weeks, we have played extremely well, and maybe this game is being held to our past because we've been up and down in the past.”
However, Brown is not concerned about the past or too much about the present, as he’s already looking forward to his team's upcoming four-game homestand which will include a rematch against Charlotte Wednesday night.
“I’m always looking toward the future,” he said. “I think the Hornets played extremely well today. But I don’t see them getting 40 assists next game. We’ll see them in a couple of games, so we’ll see.”