Celtics

Celtics-Hornets takeaways: Tatum and Brown co-star in victory

Celtics

What a difference a day makes.

Entering play Sunday, the Boston Celtics remained winless, an embarrassing 32-point loss to the Toronto Raptors in their home opener the most recent setback.

Now, just a little more than 24 hours later, the Celtics have strung together back-to-back road wins to get back to .500 on the season, knocking the Charlotte Hornets (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 140-129 overtime victory Monday night.

For the first time this season, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown truly co-starred for Boston, combining for 71 points on 26 of 48 shooting. Here are some other takeaways from the win, in which the Celtics closed out on a 14-0 run.

J Team assembles

Brown shined in the opener for the Celtics, scoring 46 points in a double-overtime loss to the New York Knicks. Tatum had 31 points in Boston's first win of the season Sunday over the Houston Rockets.

But the franchise cornerstones finally fired on all cylinders simultaneously Monday, Tatum leading the way with 41 points and Brown chipping in 30 -- one night after missing a game due to a knee injury.

It's the fifth time both Tatum and Brown have topped 30 points in the same game for the Celtics. Unsurprisingly, Boston's record is 5-0 in such games.

For Tatum, it was his second night in a row shooting exactly 50% from the floor (14 for 28, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range). Brown has now shot better than 50% in two of the three games he's played this season, Monday's 12 for 20 showing the latest.

Smart does more Smart things

After a solid opening night in New York, when he made 5 of 11 attempts from 3-point range, Smart has made just two treys since. He's 2 for 18 from deep over the last three games, including a 1 for 9 showing on Monday. After missing his first seven attempts from deep, Smart finally connected with 4:10 left in the fourth quarter to slice Boston's deficit to 117-112 at the time.

 
WATCH: Jaylen Brown posterizes Miles Bridges with emphatic dunk

Amazingly, Smart has taken just 11 2-point field goals through Boston's first four games and 29 3-pointers.

And yet...Smart had a big moment late in the fourth quarter which the Celtics likely wouldn't have won without. He came up with a key steal on an ill-advised inbound pass from former teammate Gordon Hayward with eight seconds left in regulation, picking off a ball intended for the red-hot LaMelo Ball.

Smart then nearly threw an inbound pass away to Jayson Tatum on the ensuing possession, resulting in the game heading to overtime, where he missed the only shot he took (from 3, of course).

Time Lord continues to flash on both ends

While Smart needs to shoot less, one could make the case that Robert Williams III needs to shoot more. The big man posted his second double-double of the season Monday with 12 points (5-7 FG) and 16 rebounds, including this alley-oop finish from Tatum to open up a 126-122 lead in overtime.

Williams led the Celtics with three blocks and used up five personal fouls, helpful on a night in which the Hornets shot just 64% (18 for 28) from the free-throw line. 

Good riddance, Gordon?

In addition to his sloppy inbound pass late in regulation, Hayward's minus-23 rating was the worst in the game for either team. Playing against the Celtics for the first time since departing Boston via sign-and-trade in 2020 (four years, $120 million) Hayward had 15 points on 5 of 12 shooting in 38 minutes for Charlotte.