at Boston Celtics (9-7) at Charlotte Hornets (7-8)
Monday, November 19, 2018
7:00 PM EST
Regular Season Game #17, Road Game #10
TV: NBCSB, FSSE-CHA, NBA-LP (DTV750, xfinity751)
Radio: 100.7 WZLX, WFNZ 610 AM The Fan
Spectrum CenterProbable Starters
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford Celtics Reserves
Jabari BirdTwo Way Players
Walt Lemon, Jr.
P. J. DozierCoach
Brad Stevens Probable Starters
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Jeremy Lamb
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Cody Zeller Probable Reserves
Michael Kidd GilchristTwo Way Players
J. P. MacuraHead Coach
James BorregoGame Notes
The Celtics travel to Charlotte, NC to take on the Hornets tonight in their first of 4 games the two teams play against each other this year. Boston is coming off a terrible loss at home against the Utah Jazz, losing 98-86 in what was the Celtics' absolute worst offensive showing this season. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Brad Stevens all seemed to send strong messages to the rest of the team in interviews after the loss, hoping to settle and inspire the team. Stevens has noted that changes in the starting 5 are not likely as what's more important are the lineups during the game and at the end of the game not the first five minutes of the game. Perhaps that means changes to his rotational substitutions and groupings at different periods of the game but it doesn't look like a starting lineup shakeup is coming.
Charlotte has lost their last two games and are coming off a draining and emotional 122-119 OT loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, where Jimmy Butler hit a three pointer as time expired in the OT, as the Sixers overcame an NBA season high 60 points from Kemba Walker. The 60 points were also a career high for Walker.
Charlotte is a team that has played better than their record. Like Boston they take a lot of three point shots(34.5 per game), unfortunately, not at a great percentage(35.3%). Also like Boston, they take very good care of the basketball(12.9 per game, 2nd best in NBA). Where the teams are different is that the Hornets create a lot of points off turnovers and second chance opportunities off offensive rebounds. Because of this Charlotte has the 7th best offense in the league. Defensively, the Hornets are a pretty middle of the road defense and will be missing their best perimeter defender Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tonight.
Charlotte is led by Kimba Walker who is putting up MVP quality numbers and is the league's second leading scorer behind LeBron James putting up 28.7 points per game while also contributing 6.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds per game. Walker's backcourt mate is having his best year as a pro contributing 13.4 points, 1.3 steals and 4.5 rebounds per game. Much like Boston, the Hornets rely on gang rebounding as the do not have a dominant rebounding player on the team. Nicolas Batum leads active players with just 5.7 rebounds per game.
The keys for a Boston win will be more about improving how Boston plays than stoping what Charlotte does. The Celtics still have the best defense in the league and Charlotte really doesn't have any other offensive player that the Celtics have to worry about. Boston needs to make their free throws. The Celtics need to hit their wide open shots and layups. The Celtics have to drive the ball into the lane and create points there as the Hornets do not have the interior defense like Utah, Portland and Denver do which gave the Celtics such a hard time. This is a game that will feature the two best PGs in the Eastern Conference playing head to head. If they both play the exceptional ball they usually do, it will be up to the supporting crews to decide this game. Here is hoping Brown, Hayward, Horford, Tatum, Rozier and Smart can start hitting some shots and get themselves out of the early season shooting funk that they all seem to be in.