Charlotte Hornets travel to Boston seeking third straight win

Charlotte Hornets Willy Hernangomez (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Willy Hernangomez (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Having won their last two games, confidence is running high for the Charlotte Hornets. Can they build upon that with a road win over the Boston Celtics?

It’s safe to say that it’s been quite a roller coaster of a season thus far for the Charlotte Hornets (16-15). The team will win a handful of games, lose a handful, only to then win another handful. That being said, at this point last year, they had a record of 11-21, so they’ve definitely improved.

Still, in order to climb the ranks in the Eastern Conference and quell any doubts in the minds of fans, the Hornets will need to string together more than two or three wins in a row. Defeating the Boston Celtics (18-13) on the road would definitely sit right with the fans and Charlotte’s chances of moving up in the standings.

These two teams have met once already this season, with Charlotte coming away with a 117-112 win at home. Kemba Walker led the way with 43 points and 5 assists. Kyrie Irving dropped 27 points and 11 assists for the Celtics.

Charlotte’s last game was a 98-86 win over the Detroit Pistons. They are 6th in the Eastern Conference. Boston’s last contest was a 120-107 beat down at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. They are two games ahead of the Hornets, sitting at the 5th spot in the East. This is the second of four match-ups against the Celtics.

Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics
6:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 23rd, 2018
TD Garden
Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report:




Marcus Morris – Knee (Questionable)

Al Horford – Knee (Probable)

Aron Baynes – Hand (Out)

Things to watch for:

As you can see, Boston has some injuries to key players, but two of them could play. If they can’t, however, that would definitely impact the Celtics’ rotation.

For a team that is 4-8 away from home, that could potentially help the Hornets, though it is unfortunate for Boston and those players.

As mentioned before, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving had quite the battle the last time these two teams faced off, combining for 70 points. That is usually the case when those two players go against each other, so expect that again. Boston has lost their last three games, so look for them to be hungry.

Keys to the game:

Surprisingly, Boston is only 21st in the NBA in terms of field goal percentage. Despite that, they are 6th in the league in three-point field goal percentage, so for a team that ranks 12th in the league in opponent three-point field goal percentage, perimeter defense will be a focal point. That means avoiding costly double teams in the interior, closing out on shooters, and playing physical defense.

Something else to note is that Boston attempts the 3rd fewest free-throws in the NBA. This bodes well for a Hornets squad that only commits 20 personal fouls per game, good for 3rd fewest.

The Hornets will also need to make sure to try and get as many open looks as they can, as Boston ranks 4th in the NBA opponent field goal percentage. Anyone who pays attention to professional basketball knows the Celtics pride themselves on their defense, so making the extra pass, setting good screens, and working the fast break for easy buckets will be a point of emphasis as well.

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The Hornets have struggled on the road, but they’ve shown they can beat the talented Celtics. It won’t be easy, but if they play staunch perimeter defense and take good shots, they have a chance. We’ll see if they can come out of Boston with a win Sunday night.