7 P.M. On a Monday. Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. This was the setting as the Charlotte Hornets were presented with their first opportunity to take on Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics following his less-than-complimentary comments earlier this summer.
The Celtics superstar would initially mention his willingness to play rather than sit out a game in Charlotte before taking a shot at the Hornets.
"“And just because we’re playing Charlotte on NBA League Pass on a Monday and ain’t nobody f***ing watching, I don’t say ‘yeah, I’m chilling tonight’. That’s not what the best players do.”"
Interestingly enough, these comments aligned quite well with the first matchup between these two franchises. This was a game played in Charlotte, and unless you were living in the local broadcast markets for either team, it would have to be watched via NBA League Pass. The perfect chance for the Hornets to provide a counter-argument of sorts to Tatum’s previous statement.
Early on, it did not appear to be Charlotte’s night, as Tatum had tallied 31 points by halftime and was looking well on his way to cruising to an easy victory. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Celtics would win this game, and the Hornets should not even bother trying.
Charlotte would go on to outscore Boston 54-43 in the second half and would just edge out the Celtics 13-10 in overtime to secure the 121-118 victory. Tatum’s scoring explosion cooled after halftime, seeing his scoring output cut in half, finishing with 45 points in the contest.
Even though Tatum was clearly not in the mood to just chill his way through the game, his game-leading points total being a clear testament to exactly that, Charlotte came out with the last laugh. It was abundantly clear by the comments Tatum made during the summer that Boston expects to beat Charlotte each and every time they face off. Being able to come out victorious at home in the first meeting between the two teams after Tatum’s comments may have him think twice the next time he feels inclined to make a similar statement about the Hornets or any other franchise.
The Celtics are clearly the better team, and there may not be all that much to be excited about regarding the Hornets this season, but this is a contest they deserve to be proud of.