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Keys to Beat the Celtics

By Matt Gorry, hornets.com

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Key Matchup: Cody Zeller vs. Tyler Zeller

Wednesday’s showdown in the Queen City will be a family affair for the Zeller’s… Charlotte’s Cody Zeller has started the last four games with Marvin Williams nursing a shoulder injury. In his second year in the league, Cody Zeller has bumped up his rookie averages in every offensive category. The Indiana product is scoring 8.6 points, grabbing 5.4 boards and tallying 1.2 assists through 20 games, while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the line… Cody will have a unique matchup going against older brother, Tyler, for the fourth time in their NBA careers. TylerZellerreturns to North Carolina, where he played his college ball in nearby Chapel Hill, in his first season with the Celtics. The former Tar Heel is scoring above his career average (7.0) with 7.7 points to go with 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists through 19 games… Tyler holds a 2-1 edge in the All-Zeller series and may have to help neutralize Cody to earn another win. 

Scouting the Hornets (5-15)

Charlotte snapped a 10-game losing streak in style in its last outing as Kemba Walker hit a contested layup at the buzzer to send Charlotte to a wild 103-102 victory over the Knicks. Gerald Henderson was one of five Hornets in double digits, finishing with a team-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Al Jefferson finished with a big double-double down low with 16 points and 13 boards. Lance Stephenson scored in double-digits for the second-consecutive game with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting with six assists and six rebounds. Gary Neal returned from a shoulder injury to finish with 13 points. Kemba Walker added 11 points, four assists and four rebounds… The Hornets committed only seven turnovers on Dec. 5 against the Knicks, one game after committing only five turnovers on Dec. 3

against Chicago, which tied the fewest in Charlotte NBA history for the second time this season. The Hornets have now had seven-or-fewer turnover in six of their last nine games… Walker scored 11 points on Dec. 5 against the Knicks, including the game-winning basket as time expired, reaching double figures for the ninth time in the last 10 games and the 17th time in 20 games played this season… Jefferson scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds on Dec. 5 against the Knicks, posting his sixth double-double of the season. Jefferson has scored in double figures in nine consecutive games, including four games with 20 points or more. Over his last nine games, he is averaging 19.0 points and 9.1 rebounds, while shooting .487 from the field (74-of-152) and .793 from the free-throw line (23-of-29)… Henderson scored a season-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting on Dec. 5 against the Knicks, scoring in double figures for the fourth time in his last five games. Henderson is averaging 13.4 points on .600 shooting (27-45) over the five-game stretch… Charlotte defeated the Knicks 103-102 on Dec. 5, marking the 12th game this season they have played that was decided by seven points or less. Over the past two seasons, Charlotte has had 51 games decided by seven points or less, tied for the most in the NBA.

Scouting the Celtics (7-12)

Coming off back-to-back games against the Wizards, the Celtics head to Charlotte at 7-12… After downing Washington 101-93 on Dec. 7 at home, Boston dropped a grueling 133-132 double-overtime marathon in the nation’s capital the next night. The Celtics trailed by as much as 23 in the third quarter before rallying to send the game to overtime. Jeff Green turned in a team-high 28 points, rookie Marcus Smart added a career-high 23 and Kelly Olynyk finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Boston was fueled by 82 points from the bench – most by a reserve unit in an NBA game this season… The Celtics have one three of their last four games after a slow 4-11 start… Boston and Charlotte have several connections: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, James Young and Rajon Rondo attended Kentucky. Al Jefferson was originally drafted by the Celtics with the 15th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and played for the Celtics from 2004-07. Gerald Wallace played for the Bobcats from 2004-11. P.J. Hairston, Marvin Williams and Tyler Zeller attended the University of North Carolina. Brian Roberts and Chris Johnson both attended Dayton. Noah Vonleh was born in the Boston area. Cody and Tyler Zeller are brothers. Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner were teammates in Indiana during the 2013-14 season… Boston has shown an impressive offense so far to kick off the season. The Celtics headed into their last game sixth in the NBA in points per game (104.2), fourth in points in the paint per game (46.1), 16th in offensive rebounds (10.8), tied for 10th in field goal percentage (46.0), 19th in offensive rating (103.2) and second in assists per game (25.6)… The C’s have been hitting the boards hard to start off the 2014-15 season and are the 11th best rebounding team (43.9 rpg) in the NBA so far this season… Rajon Rondo recorded his first triple-double of the 2014-15 season with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists against the Raptors on Nov. 5. Through the first four games of the season Rajon has notched 36 rebounds and 50 assists which joins Oscar Robertson as the only other player to reach those totals through the first four games of a season.