Celtics’ 3-Point Shooting Buries Hornets Early In Boston

Hornets Highlights vs Celtics - 11/28/22

McDaniels Scores Career-High 24 PTS, Charlotte Overwhelmed By 24 Opposing 3-Pointers

As the Charlotte Hornets currently weather a multitude of key early-season injuries, they’re bound to occasionally run into a buzz-saw of a team that’s just firing on all cylinders. That team on Monday night was the NBA-leading Boston Celtics and the Hornets simply couldn’t keep up with their high-powered offense in a 140-105 road loss at TD Garden.

Jalen McDaniels was a major bright spot for the visitors though, finishing with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and two assists in the loss. The fourth-year forward also tied a career high with four 3-pointers starting in place of the injured Gordon Hayward for the second consecutive game.

It took only a few minutes into the contest to realize this probably wasn’t going to be the Hornets’ night. Boston drained a seismic 10-of-15 3-point attempts in the first quarter and won the frame 45-19 to set a new franchise record for quarterly points. Charlotte righted itself to win the second quarter by three, but the Celtics responded emphatically with a 43-point third quarter to eliminate any remaining doubt about the final outcome.

“Individual defense, help defense and pick-and-roll defense,” said Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford, when asked about his takeaways after the game. “We’ve gotten a lot better [defensively] and [the Celtics] make you look bad, too, but we did not have the right mentality to even have a chance to make it hard on them. You have to have the right mentality to guard a team like that and we didn’t.”

Along with Hayward, LaMelo Ball, Cody Martin and Dennis Smith Jr., Terry Rozier was ruled out shortly before tipoff with an illness, leaving the Hornets with just nine available players, all of whom played. Kelly Oubre Jr. (22), PJ Washington (16), Théo Maledon (11) and Bryce McGowens (10) each scored in double figures for a Charlotte team that shot a relatively pleasant 48.8% from the field and 37.9% from 3-point range (11-of-29).

Jayson Tatum led Boston with a game-high 35 points, while Marcus Smart double-doubled with 22 points on 6-of-9 from 3-point range and a career-high 15 assists, eight of which came in the first quarter. The Celtics’ offense is humming at an off-the-charts pace right now and while the hope would have been for the Hornets to look more competitive in this one, being so short-handed and missing most of their primary scorers certainly warrants some perspective.

Added Clifford, “These guys (Boston) are on record to be one of the best offensive teams of all time. When you make a mistake, they make you pay. They were good and I would have liked to see us be better technically with the things that we’re doing. Nobody else has been able to stop them either. I don’t think it was some terrible effort. They’re really good and we need to play better.”

The Hornets will now have three full days off for the first time this season before starting on all-home back-to-back against the Washington Wizards on Friday, Dec. 2 beginning at 7 PM ET. Catch all the action on Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ FM 92.7.