FINAL: Boston: 126 Charlotte: 94
With Kyrie Irving out once again with his hip injury the Celtics were undermanned and had their hands full with Kemba Walker. Terry Rozier once again stepped up to the challenge as a starter, posting 17/5/10 on 5-10 shooting from the floor, while also pitching in 3 steals. He even executed a lob (this has been difficult for our friend Terry over the years) for this slam by Tatum.
Terry ran the offense well last night and has shown his ability to get other guys involved recently. While we know what to expect when Terry starts, I’m still hesitant as it seems like all of this goes out the window when he comes off of the bench. It’s going to be important for him (and this team) to keep this level of play up when he’s coming off of the bench. If he plays good basketball, teams are going to notice (if they haven’t already), and he will get paid over the summer no matter what his scoring numbers look like. Teams know how much depth the Celtics have and it feels a bit petty to hold low scoring averages against Terry while he’s a backup. There isn’t a need for him to press, he just needs to play basketball the way he knows how.
While we’re on the subject of Tatum, he also had a big night offensively, scoring 20 points.
While that dunk was the ultimate highlight, I thought he attacked the basket effectively last night and was efficient on offense. By that, I mean he wasn’t forcing up mid-range jump-shots and taking 7+ dribbles to do so. His shot chart for the night looked like this and it’s a nice balance between layups/dunks, mid-range, and threes.
As an offensive player, being efficient with your dribbles and not being stagnant is important. It’s something that Tatum’s going to have to develop with his game as sometimes he takes a lot of wasted dribbles. He plays better/his game looks better when he’s making quick decisions and being efficient with the ball in his hands. This feels like it will be his next step of development as a player and nights like this show you how great he could be some day.
While Jayson had a great night, Jaylen one upped him a bit with 24 points and 10 rebounds on a smooth 10-18 from the field.
I kind of rant a lot about how Jaylen needs to be aggressive and he made me proud once again last night. He has such a quick first step and at his size that ability to blow by defenders is one of a kind. When that quick first step is coupled with his explosiveness, he can do anything on a basketball court. He can get wherever he wants to in the lane (especially against bench players) and last night was another example of that.
Gordon Hayward had a nice night as well posting 12/5/3 with 2 steals/1 block and was a game-high +31. He followed up a putrid night on Monday scoring wise with a 5-10 mark from the floor and he even had a dunk in there.
These types of games are effective for his recovery as well since he gets to log low pressure minutes. When the Celtics opened up their lead late in the third that got out to be as large as 35, Hayward was able to work some of the kinks out in garbage time for most of the fourth quarter.
Al Horford (14/7/5 2 steals 2 blocks) and Marcus Morris Sr. (15/7/3) were contributors as well. The Celtics got a lot out of multiple guys and it continues to show how well this team plays when they get everybody involved. After being a bit under 30 assists the passed few games, they broke through as they racked up 34 assists and the ball moved effortlessly. It shows how well rounded a team is when they put up 126 points and their leading scorer only has 24.
The third quarter was when the green really put their foot down on the gas pedal and ran the Hornets out of the building. They outscored them 35-16 in the quarter and finished the frame on a 25-6 run where they opened up a 98-75 lead. They didn’t give the lead back and were able to get the end of the bench some run late ( TimeLord unfortunately was in Maine 😦 ). Overall, the Celtics took care of business and keep the train rolling as tomorrow they visit the new look New York Knicks at 7:30 PM ET at MSG.
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