Staunch D, efficiency from three leads Celtics past Charlotte

Staunch D, efficiency from three leads Celtics past Charlotte

The 3-point shot got Boston off to a fine start against the Charlotte Hornets.

But it was their defense that ultimately put the pesky Hornets away as the Celtics surged ahead in the fourth quarter for a 104-98 victory.

Boston (2-1) has now won four in a row on the road against Charlotte.

Just as important, it was a strong performance against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference that came in having won its first two games of the season on the road – a first for the Hornets franchise.

After leading most of the first half, Boston found itself down 72-71 going into the fourth quarter after a last-second shot by Nicolas Batum.

But the Celtics buckled down defensively and began to do what they did to start the game – bury 3-pointers.

Leading the Celtics’ 3-point barrage was Avery Bradley who led all scorers with 31 points which included a career-high eight made 3-pointers. Bradley also did his part on the boards, finishing with a career-high 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

Boston opened the fourth with a 22-7 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Jonas Jerebko that put the ahead 93-79 with 4:22 to play.

Charlotte cut Boston’s lead back to single digits, but the Celtics continued to make the plays necessary on defense, hold their own on the boards and get contributions offensively from multiple players down the stretch.

In addition to the big game by Bradley, Isaiah Thomas had yet another solid night for the Celtics with 24 points.

The Hornets made it interesting late in the fourth quarter courtesy of some strong play from ex-UConn star Kemba Walker.

After having just five points in the first half on 1-for-6 shooting, Walker finished with a team-high 29 points.

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“[Davis] was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”