at Charlotte Hornets (16-15) at Boston Celtics (18-13)
Sunday, December, 23, 2018
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #32 Home Game #15
TV: NBCSB, FSSE-CHA, NBA-LP 755(DTV)/753(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 105.7
TD GardenProbable Starters
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford Celtics Reserves
Jabari Bird (personal) out
Marcus Morris (knee) probable
Aron Baynes (hand) out
Al Horford (knee) probable
Two Way Players
P. J. Dozier
Brad StevensProbable Hornets Starters
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Jeremy Lamb
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Cody Zeller
Michael Kidd Gilchrist
Tony Parker Injuries
Two Way Players
JP Macura Head Coach
The Charlotte Hornets are in Boston for the second of four games between these two teams this season. The Celtics lost their first meeting 117-112 in Charlotte on November 19. They will meet once more in Boston on January 30 and again in Charlotte on March 23.
The Celtics are 5th in the East, 2 games behind Philadelphia and 5.5 games behind first place Toronto. The Hornets are in 6th place, just 2 games behind the Celtics. The Celtics have lost 3 in a row while the Hornets have won 2 straight. The Celtics are 9-5 at home while the Hornets are 4-8 on the road. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Hornets are 5-5 in their last 10.
The Celtics may be getting a little healthier as both Al Horford and Marcus Morris are expected to rejoin the starting lineup, although possibly on a minutes restriction. Aron Baynes is still out and had successful surgery on his hand on Thursday. The Hornets have no injures reported at this time. Horford's return will be welcome against the Hornets, who are deep at the center position with Zeller, Hernangomez, Kaminsky and Biyombo.
After their third straight loss, the Celtics had a players meeting to air their thoughts on what was going wrong. Kyrie mentioned some selfish play and all said that they know they have to do better and all get on the same page. It will be interesting to see how the players in question respond to the criticism. Hopefully they have a renewed sense of team play and the Celtics get a win in this one. Key Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Kemba Walker
This is a battle between two All Star point guards. Walker is averaging 25 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He scored 43 points in the first meeting between these two teams so Kyrie is going to need to play defense to slow Walker down because he is capable of taking over a game. Kyrie will also need to make him work on the defensive end so as to wear him out a bit.
Marcus Smart vs Jeremy Lamb
Lamb is averaging 14.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. It is possible that Marcus will guard Kemba, who is more of a scoring threat while Kyrie covers Lamb. Regardless the Hornets' back court is their biggest asset and the Celtics need to try to limit them.
The Celtics bench is weaker with Baynes and possibly Morris out and one and possibly two reserves moving into the starting position. The Hornets have some players coming off their bench that could give the Celtics trouble. Tony Parker, Willy Hernangomez, Frank Kaminsky, and Malik Monk have all given the Celtics problems in the past. For the Celtics Terry Rozier, Semi Ojeleye, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis and Gordon Hayward need to play better without any individual agendas. Keys to the Game:Defense Defense Defense!!
- Defense is the key to winning every game. The Hornets average 111.1 points per game while the Celtics average 113.2 points per game. The Celtics are 3rd with a defensive rating of 103..4 while the Hornets are 16th with a defensive rating of 108.5. The Celtics must continue to make defense a priority and play tough individual and team defense if they want to win this one. Rebound
- Rebounding is very important to winning. Rebounding takes effort and desire and those things have been lacking in the Celtics over their 3 game losing streak. They were out-rebounded 55-35 vs the Bucks. Regardless of their injuries, as a team, the Celtics must commit to putting out more effort to get rebounds. They can't score without the ball and giving up 20 extra possessions to the opponent is inexcusable and will usually lead to a loss. Be Aggressive
- One of the strengths of the Celtics last season was their aggressiveness on the court. This year, we have only seen that aggressiveness in spurts. They need to be aggressive in going after rebounds, on defense, in attacking the basket and in going after loose balls. The more aggressive team will also usually get more calls from the officials. The Celtics must be the more aggressive team and play harder from start to finish.
Play Hard 48 Minutes
- This season the Celtics have started some games slow and then had to try to dig out from a big hole. Other games they have gotten off to a big lead and then let up and allowed the opponent to come back and take the lead. They need to play hard from the opening tip until the final buzzer. Play Team Ball
- The Celtics play best when they move the ball and find the open man. They have to play TEAM ball and share the ball and no player should try to do too much. They also need to commit to play team defense. The Celtics play the best when the scoring is spread out and no one player has to do too much. After their team meeting addressing the lack of team play, it will be interesting to see if they play team ball in this one. X-Factors Don't Underestimate
- The Celtics can't underestimate the Hornets because they are tough and they seem to do everything well. The Hornets always play the Celtics tough and they will be extra motivated to keep their win streak going. If the Celtics let down their guard and give it less than 100%, they may end up with a loss. Home Game
- The Celtics are playing in their third home game in a row. The Hornets have struggled on the road this season with a 4-8 road record. The Celtics need to take advantage of being at home and should get a boost from the home crowd. They haven't done that in the last 2 games but it's never too late to start.