This wasn’t really a test. And the Celtics couldn’t have left Charlotte feeling like all their uneasiness is in the rearview mirror.
But the Celts’ 102-91 win over the lowly Hornets was better than nothing, and at least returned some confidence back to Brad Stevens’ club before it gets a real reality check. (For a complete recap, click here.)
It’s time to see where this team stands among the NBA elite.
The 28-10 Celtics are headed home from their taking-care-of-business win over the Hornets to take on the best team — record-wise — in the league, the Rockets. Then, six days later, the C’s get to test themselves against Isaiah Thomas and his Cavaliers. Dig in. Here comes the quest to live life as a title contender.
The version of the Celtics that showed up against Charlotte won’t beat a Houston team that has lost just two road games all season. It certainly didn’t help that they were playing without both Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris, who each suffered from knee issues. But when you blow a 20-point lead and let a team like the 12-22 Hornets close to a point heading into the fourth quarter, that shouldn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling heading into a showdown with James Harden and Co.
Some good news for the Celtics was that Al Horford showed some signs of life against a pretty good center in the form of Dwight Howard. Horford finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and a plus-15. Kyrie Irving (21 points) and Jayson Tatum (18 points) also offered offensive assistance.
What continued to be a concern was the Celtics’ issues on the glass.
The C’s were out-rebounded by Charlotte, 52-43, with the visitors only grabbing six offensive rebounds while giving up 19 to the Hornets. A big part of that equation was due to Howard’s 17 boards, but the recent issues regarding the rebounding troubles still exist hours before facing the highest-scoring team in the NBA.
This stretch — which also includes a Sunday home game against Brooklyn — won’t define the Celtics, particularly considering their current physical woes. It will, however, offer a nice litmus test heading into the new year.
And it will certainly more anticipation than a Wednesday night game in Charlotte.
Tonight’s @JetBlue Play of the Game:
The stop —
The pass ➡️
The slam — pic.twitter.com/D6jNjO0WPN
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 28, 2017
JBL Audio Stat of the Game: The Celtics never trailed in the win.
JBL is the Official Sound of Jayson Tatum, The Boston Celtics, and the NBA.
Full article @ Celtics 102, Hornets 91: Here comes a pretty good test
Source: GreenStreet Blog