Celtics

Celtics' streak snapped after 90-78 loss to Hornets

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Celtics' streak snapped after 90-78 loss to Hornets

BOSTON Austin Rivers did not have a particularly good game against his father and the Boston Celtics.
But like his dad, the younger Rivers was more concerned about his team getting the victory.
And that they did, as the New Orleans Hornets pulled ahead in the second quarter and pulled away in the third for a 90-78 win.
Boston (20-18) had its moments in the third and fourth quarters to put the pressure on New Orleans, but those moments often resulted in turnovers and missed shots which ultimately added up to a missed opportunity for victory as the C's season-long winning streak is snapped at six games.
For New Orleans, it was the yet another solid performance for a team that's showing they can win with and without their best players.
Hornets coach Monty Williams announced before the game that top-scorer Eric Gordon would not play because Wednesday's game.
Gordon had offseason knee surgery and the Hornets have not allowed him to play in back-to-back games.
His absence had little impact on the game other than create a great chance for Austin Rivers to see action.
Rivers averages about 25 minutes per game this season, but came into Wednesday's game having played a total of 14 minutes in the previous three games.
Against the C's, he played 14 minutes in the first half and finished with eight points while playing 22 minutes.
New Orleans continued to pull away in the third quarter by doing one thing and one thing only - playing harder.
They were more aggressive going to the basket, which was evident in the Hornets having a 24-12 advantage in points in the paint. They collapsed on C's shooters with greater force which resulted in the C's shooting less than 40 percent in the second half after connecting on 51 percent of their shots in the first half.
New Orleans dictated the game's tempo and pushed it to a level that the Celtics were never able to match.
In the end, the C's spent far too much time looking to score from the perimeter instead of attacking the rim. And that made an already improved defensive effort by the Hornets, even better.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

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Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

PHILADELPHIA – Near the end of a preseason game against Charlotte, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin was killin’ the Hornets with pick-and-roll action.

It was a preseason game that at the time, didn’t seem to have much value other than to get some of the end-of-the-bench guys a little run up and down the court.

But as it turned out, Larkin's play in that game was one of those things head coach Brad Stevens tucked away, knowing at some point he would count on Larkin to provide similar play in a regular season game.

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Well, that game was Friday night at Philadelphia, a game in which several players for Boston stepped their games up in helping the Celtics get their first win of the season, 102-92.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger game-changer for the Celtics in this game, than Larkin.

He finished with 10 points off the bench, eight of which came in the decisive fourth quarter when the Celtics rallied from five-down to get a hard-fought, much-needed victory.

“You have to always be ready for your name to be called, especially when you have injuries,” Larkin said. “You never know whose night it’s gonna be.”

Boston was playing without Marcus Smart who suffered a left ankle sprain in their 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Smart was in the starting lineup having replaced Gordon Hayward who underwent left ankle surgery and is expected to be out for the remainder of this season.

“When coach (Stevens) called my name, I had to go out there and be aggressive, play my game,” Larkin said. “And it worked in our favor.”

And while Stevens had watched Larkin play prior to the Celtics signing him this summer, it was a preseason game against Charlotte that really convinced him that the 5-foot-11 guard could help when called upon.

“You’re always watching,” Stevens said. “And if you remember that exhibition game, he finished out that Charlotte game, just running simple spread pick-and-rolls. He’s such a handful with his speed and quickness, and he allows other guys to play off of him. He’s a small guy, but he makes up for it with his speed and skill.”

Al Horford benefited more than any other Celtic with Larkin’s pick-and-roll play which factored into Horford scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth.

“Shane is a player who understands the game and for us, it was me trying to set a good screen for him and having him make a play,” Horford said. “He just made the right reads, when to shoot it, when to pass it. He just looked very comfortable in that position.”

And to think that Larkin’s big game came about in part because of how well he performed in a preseason matchup against the Hornets.

“I did not know it was that specific game,” Larkin said. “But whenever I step on the court I try to do my best. That’s offensively, defensively, and do what the team needs me to do.

Larkin added, “Whenever my number is called, if he (Stevens) calls it again, I hope he does. I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.”

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