Hornets Meeting Celtics in Chapel Hill for Preseason Opener
By Sam Perley, hornets.com
After just three days of Training Camp, the Hornets will begin their preseason schedule against the Boston Celtics starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 in Chapel Hill, NC. Like any exhibition contest, there will be a lot of experimentation and things could get messy from time to time.
Last year’s preseason opener (which was also against Boston) featured starters Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Dwight Howard all playing between 21-24 minutes. New Head Coach James Borrego will probably be working through a number of different rotations and playing groups to see who works where and the best together.
With Kyrie Irving (knee) and Gordon Hayward (ankle) likely still on the mend after suffering season-ending injuries last year, look for shooting guard Jaylen Brown to be a focal point for Boston. Charlotte’s starting two-guard spot this season will likely be filled by either Jeremy Lamb or Malik Monk (probable; pelvic contusion). How each player responds when matched up against one of the NBA’s top three-and-D players will be noteworthy.
The final outcome certainly won’t be important in this one. Borrego and his staff are looking for chemistry, communication and consistency. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Monk, Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges and Devonte’ Graham get plenty of minutes as well.
Interesting Note – This will be the first sanctioned game at the Dean Dome for UNC alum Marvin Williams since 2005, when he won a National Title with the Tar Heels. Boston’s Irving (Duke), Jayson Tatum (Duke), Terry Rozier (Louisville) and Semi Ojeleye (Duke/SMU) are also all former ACC players.
Classic Fact – Prior to Kemba Walker’s team-record 52-point game against Utah on Jan. 18, 2016, the two-highest scoring individual games in franchise history had both come against the Celtics. Larry Johnson totaled 44 points on Nov. 22, 1995, while Glen Rice had 48 points on March 6, 1997.