Celtics

Celtics-Hornets preview: Win streaks on the line

Celtics-Hornets preview: Win streaks on the line

BOSTON –  Brad Stevens likes the direction the Boston Celtics are going now. 

After losing three straight and four of five, Boston (43-19) has reeled off three straight wins and are looking to pad that total tonight against the suddenly red-hot Charlotte Hornets.

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Although Charlotte (23-28) is currently on the outside of the playoff bubble looking up to nine teams, they are indeed a club on the rise with wins in each of their last five games which includes a 118-103 win over Chicago. 

Like Boston, Charlotte’s recent run of success has featured plenty of sub-.500 teams. 

In fact, the Hornets' five-game winning streak includes just one team with a winning record (Washington). 

As for Boston, all three of its wins during its current string of victories came against a team with a below-.500 record. 

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While those wins were certainly good for team morale, Stevens still isn’t quite sure of how much better his team is compared to where they were when they limped into the All-Star break just a couple of weeks ago. 

 “The game on Wednesday night, with the way Charlotte’s playing, will be a good test for us to see if we’re improving and if we’re getting better because I think they’re playing really well,” Stevens said.

Indeed, Charlotte has been productive at both ends of the floor during the team’s five-game winning streak. 

In that span, the Hornets have an offensive rating of 114.9 which ranks fifth in the league. And their defensive rating in that span is 100.9 which also ranks fifth in the NBA. 

But like the Celtics, they too have questions about themselves that can only be answered by facing stiffer competition which makes tonight’s game a bit of a litmus test for both teams. 

However, Charlotte comes into tonight’s game with a couple of key players unlikely to play. 

Charlotte’s Michael Kidd- Gilchrist suffered a hamstring injury early in Friday’s win over Chicago. The Hornets also lost Cody Zeller in the second half due to a sore left knee. Howard had 24 points for Charlotte, but he missed the entire second quarter with a sore back so his availability comes with some element of uncertainty as well.

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It all adds up to the Celtics once again being well positioned for a victory. 

And if that does indeed come to fruition, Boston’s win total will get a little fatter even as questions remain as to how good this Celtics team really is. 

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Get to know the newest Celtic, Walt Lemon Jr.

Get to know the newest Celtic, Walt Lemon Jr.

BOSTON – Walter Lemon Jr. has agreed to a two-way contract with the Boston Celtics, becoming the third player ever with such a designation for the Celtics.

He played four years at Bradley before taking his game overseas to play in Hungary, Istanbul, Greece, Germany and later returning to the United States to play for the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants of the Gatorade League.

But what do we really know about the newest member of the Celtics family?

Here’s a look at five facts about Lemon who, as a player with a two-way contract, will spend up to 45 days with the Celtics while the rest of his time will be spent with Boston’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws:

*Despite being 6-foot-3, Lemon Jr. is comfortable playing above the rim. That’s evident by him competing in Slam Dunk contests both in college (2014 and 2015) and in the G-League (2016).

*Finished his career at Bradley ranked among the school’s top-10 in scoring, assists, and steals.

*Best scoring game in the G-League last season was a 40-point outburst against the Maine Red Claws, the team he will be playing with most of this upcoming season.

*Became the first player in school history to be named the Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014.

*On July 26 he will turn 26 years old.

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Boston Celtics to play Charlotte Hornets in preseason game at Chapel Hill

Boston Celtics to play Charlotte Hornets in preseason game at Chapel Hill

The Celtics' preseason schedule has not yet been released, but the Charlotte Hornets announced a matchup with Boston in late September. 

The game will be held on The University of North Carolina's campus in the Dean E. Smith Center on September 28th. 

Boston played Charlotte twice in last year's preseason, where the Celtics won both games. 

It is not clear whether this game will be Boston's first chance to play with a fully healthy roster for the first time in nearly a year, but we are at least 74 days away from Celtics basketball again.

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