BOSTON – Some will chalk up Boston’s 134-106 win over Charlotte to great offensive coaching on Brad Stevens’ part.
But he knows all too well what happened.
“To be honest, we played with force,” Stevens said. “That just was one of those nights where you had great, great shot-making.”
Boston shot a season-best 62.1 percent from the field which fueled them setting season highs in several offensive categories.
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Prior to the all-star break, Boston’s offense was still not humming along as well as Stevens or the Celtics would like but there was, in Stevens’ eye, promise for better days scoring the ball sooner rather than later.
“I felt really good about our structure; probably the best I’ve felt about our structure all year, heading into the break, on offense,” Stevens said. “I felt like in that last week or so we had some things that were going our way even though the numbers weren’t showing.”
And those positive signs were on full display Wednesday night as Boston absolutely dominated the Hornets behind the team’s jacuzzi-hot shooting from the field.
Boston’s Kyrie Irving attributes the team’s strong showing offensively to improved pace of play.
“We simplified some things and being able to read and react on the fly and play with a high intense effort for longer periods of time,” Irving said.
Stevens said the team has made some minor tweaks to the offense, but more than anything else, “we’re also just getting a lot more comfortable playing together.”
He added, “And sometimes that takes a little bit of time.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 134-106 win over Charlotte (28-34) which snapped the Hornet’s five-game winning streak while extending their own streak to four wins in a row.
Kyrie Irving: The efficiency that he has played with since coming back from the all-star break has been exactly what the Celtics need from the five-time all-star. He took over from the very outset of the game, scoring 16 of his game-high 34 points on 13-for-18 shooting to go with five assists and just one turnover.
Kemba Walker: The former UConn star had a similarly efficient performance for the Hornets. He tallied a team-high 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting to go with five assists without a single turnover.
Aron Baynes: His defense was strong as usual, but it was his shooting touch that really provided a lift to the Celtics. Baynes tallied his third double-double this season, scoring 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting along with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.
Dwight Howard: Boston found themselves dealing with the old Dwight Howard on Wednesday instead of an older Dwight Howard who isn’t nearly as impactful. He finished with 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting.
Celtics bench: Of course the lopsided nature of the game helped a couple players off the bench pad their stats, but this group had it going on all game long. They collectively tallied 61 points with the bench producing more double-digit scorers (4) than the starting five (three).
Charlotte’s second half defense: The Hornets were an absolute hot mess defensively in the second half, with Boston getting any and every shot they wanted. Some of the shots Boston made were of the tough, contested variety. But by and large, Boston’s ball movement opened up lanes to the basket gaps on the perimeter that the Hornets were never able to adequately adjust to and slow down. The end result was beatdown