The Boston Celtics lost to the Charlotte Hornets, 117-112, dropping to 4-6 on the road. Kemba Walker had 43 points for the Hornets.
The Boston Celtics came into Charlotte, NC on Monday night trying to emerge from their latest swoon. Charlotte, fresh off a heartbreaking loss to Philadelphia on Kemba Walker’s big night, played with emotion and focus as they redeemed their previous loss, defeating the Celtics 117-112 in another huge night for their All-Star.
Kemba Walker has been flat out unstoppable for the Hornets recently, after eclipsing his career high with 60 points against Philadelphia, Walker took and made every shot he wanted en route to a 43-point, 5-assist game Friday. Not even the vaunted on-ball defense of Marcus Smart could keep Walker from getting his shots off as he torched the Celts on every key possession down the stretch.
The Celtics experimented with a lineup change, going with Aron Baynes to start the game ahead of Gordon Hayward in an attempt to capture some of the energy and enthusiasm that has been lacking the last few games.
Hayward was almost completely absent from tonight’s game, finishing with four points on 1-of- 6 shooting; he looked tentative and hesitant attacking the paint and simply refuses to elevate off the bounce for finishes; defenses will continue to go over screens and wall off the rim if Gordon can’t trust his own body to deliver the results we all know he is capable of.
Offensive struggles plagued the Celtics as they have all season, with dry spells allowing the Hornets to get back into the game. The Hornets started the fourth quarter off extremely hot hitting their first seven shots of the final period.
Kyrie Irving led the way for the Celtics, finishing with 27 points on 12-of-25 shooting with 11 assists to cap off a well-rounded performance, the Celtics’ All-Star had his usual magical moments, ducking and weaving through the defense to the tune of ‘oohs and aahs’ from the crowd.
In typical egalitarian Celtics fashion, the team featured six double-digit scorers but couldn’t parlay that team contribution into a win. The team also wasted valuable contributions from BWA mainstays Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis, who both looked engaged and active on both ends, and scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The Celtics yet again tantalized fans with glimpses of the two-way behemoth that this team can be; they retain their vaunted No. 1-ranked defense, but the offense can only seem to work in very short stretches.
As the Celtics’ swoon continues, Boston fans are hoping their resident sideline sorcerer Brad Stevens will have a new wrinkle to throw at the team to snap them out of the fugue state they have been in since the start of the season.
The Celtics slip to 9-8 from the loss and look to recapture some momentum in the coming few games, against a decidedly easier schedule. This team has elicited extreme concern from NBA pundits for their sluggish start and lack of fire, but will look to climb back up the standings over the next few games.