Celtics

Three Pointers to take away from Celtics-Hornets game

Three Pointers to take away from Celtics-Hornets game

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving celebrated his 27th birthday doing what he seems to do a lot of lately - get buckets. 

Scoring has been the strength of his game for years, but he is in a rhythm now offensively that we just haven’t seen from him like, ever. 

Irving dropped 31 points but it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Hornets rallied for a 124-117 win. 

While it certainly was a disappointing loss for Boston, it continues what has been a red-hot stretch of shooting by Kyrie Irving who extended his streak of games with 30 or more points to a career-best five in a row. 

Here are three pointers from Saturday’s game against Charlotte. 

SAME OL, SAME OL’

Boston had the Hornets on the ropes early in the fourth quarter, seemingly one or two scoring possessions away from calling it a night after a Jayson Tatum bucket put Boston ahead 112-94. 

 But the Hornets closed out the game with a blistering 30-5 run for the win, a victory that was fueled in part by Marcus Smart picking up a few offensive fouls and thus leaving head coach Brad Stevens no choice but to bench him which opened the gateway towards their defeat with Smart saddled on the bench.

“When you lose an 18-point lead, there’s a lot of things that go wrong,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

It was yet another game in which the Celtics let a very winnable game get away from them, the kind of game that will haunt this team going into the postseason - just like so many other games have in the past. 

KEMBA WALKER

No matter how you look at it, Kemba Walker was the best player on the floor. He would lead all scorers with 36 points as part of a near triple-double that included 11 rebounds and nine assists. And Walker was at his best down the stretch when it mattered most, draining one big shot after another in leading the Hornets coming back from 18 points down in the third quarter. 

And as good as Kyrie Irving was, he was very much a non-factor in the fourth quarter when he missed four of his five shot attempts. 

 JAYLEN BROWN

One of the bright spots for Boston was the play of Jaylen Brown off the bench. Continuing his red-hot shooting off the Celtics bench, Brown would finish with 29 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field. 

As Boston inches closer towards the postseason, Brown is positioning himself to be one of the more prominent players off the Celtics bench. In addition to his scoring, Brown has also shown himself to be capable of contributing in other ways as well such as defense. 

“QUOTE, UN-QUOTE”

“We should have probably trapped him more like every other team does in the league but we didn’t. He torches us every time we play them so it’s no surprise.” - Boston’s Kyrie Irving, speaking about Charlotte’s Kemba Walker who had 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on Saturday. 

UP NEXT

Boston hosts the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. 

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Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Marcus Smart is listed as probable for the Celtics' Wednesday night game in against the Clippers in Los Angeles after the guard had to leave the Monday night win in Phoenix with a scary-looking ankle sprain. 

Smart vowed after the game Monday that he would play against the Clippers even after being helped off the court when he was injured in the fourth quarter.

Smart appeared to be moving well on the ankle Tuesday, according to Celtics.com's Marc D'Amico.

Gordon Hayward, recovering from the fractured bone in his hand and expected back around Christmas, is out for the Celtics. 

The Celtics (11-2) sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. Following an opening night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston won its next 10 before losing to the Sacramento Kings by one point on Sunday and bounced back with the 99-85 victory in Phoenix on Monday night. 

They'll take on the Clippers on Wednesday and Denver Nuggets on Friday to complete their Western trip before returning home to face the Kings and Brooklyn Nets next week. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.  

 

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Brooklyn Nets point guard, and former Celtic, Kyrie Irving may not play against Boston next week -- shocker, right?

The 27-year-old already has been ruled out for the Nets matchup Wednesday with the Charlotte Hornets with a shoulder impingement. It'll be the third game in a row he's missed and the Nets are 1-1 without him. 

Irving has only eight days to recover from the injury before a highly-anticipated return to TD Garden on Thanksgiving Eve. If he misses the remainder of the Nets' games this week, it's more than likely he won't play in Boston -- especially considering he'll be in for a rather unfriendly reception from C's fans.

He certainly didn't leave Boston on a high note after first committing to re-sign with the Celtics, then backing off that in what became a disappointing season where his leadership was questioned and he had well-publicized differences with his younger teammates. That led to his eventual free-agent departure to Brooklyn to join his friend Kevin Durant, who is out for the season after tearing his Achilles in the NBA Finals with Golden State. It appears there are leadership questions in Brooklyn, too, after reports of his "mood swings" irritating Nets' officials. 

Nonetheless, through 11 games, Irving is averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. If he does end up playing against the Celtics, his reception, and how he performs against his old teammates, will be interesting to watch. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.