Celtics beat Hornets 115-112, improve to 1-1 in preseason
With Al Horford sitting out due to a right wrist injury, the Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-112 in their first game at the TD Garden. The late heroics of Guerschon Yabusele (eight points in the fourth quarter), and Robert Williams propelled the team to their first preseason victory.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 20 points, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 27 points, and Terry Rozier stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, four boards, four assists, and three steals. Miles Bridges paced the Hornets with 23 points, Willy Hernangomez added 14 points, and Malik Monk chipped in with 13 points.
After a rocky first quarter, the Celtics found their rhythm with a little help from a returning Marcus Smart (personal) and the aptly named "BWA," Bench With Attitude. Rozier pumped in 11 points in 11 minutes off the bench in the second quarter, and Tatum, the only starter playing with the bench unit, exploded for 13 points after a loud dunk off of a Rozier lob woke him up from some early shooting woes. After scoring just 24 points in the opening frame, a 40-point second quarter and a 15-point swing sent the C's into the locker room with a seven point halftime lead.
Gordon Hayward looked much more assertive in his second game back. The effectiveness hasn't translated yet, just four points on 1-7 shooting, and five fouls, but he showed his value by adding four rebounds, three assists, and some nice defensive plays. This preseason is mainly about getting him back into the flow of the game and getting him more comfortable. The emergence of Tatum, Rozier, and Brown will allow Hayward to take as much time as he needs to get back into game shape.
The starters played a majority of the third quarter and were able to keep the lead between five and ten points, but were unable to pull away or give the team any separation. After Brad Stevens emptied the bench late in the third quarter, the Hornets closed the gap, and took the lead half way through the fourth, but unlike Friday night, the Celtics were able to pull through and hold on for the win.
Boston shot the ball better from beyond the arc at the Garden, going 13-31 (41.9 percent) from three-point range. It would have been difficult to be much worse than they were on Friday night, 9-47 (19.1 percent), but it was a welcome sign to see a few more of those shots drop.
Next up for the C's is a matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 8:00pm.
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Photo via Boston Celtics/Twitter