Boston Celtics: Player grades from OT thriller in Charlotte

Oct 25, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) goes up for a fast break dunk against the Charlotte Hornets during overtime at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) goes up for a fast break dunk against the Charlotte Hornets during overtime at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Boston Celtics picked up their second win of the season in an overtime classic against LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets.

Winning by a score of 140-129, the Cs struggled to gain control of the game until the final moments, with both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown putting the game out of reach.

Charlotte jumped out to a quick ten-point lead in the first quarter off of some hot 3-point shooting, but they eventually cooled off to a reasonable rate, finishing 19-of-44 from beyond the arc (43.2%).

Boston hit 19 of their 50 attempts from deep, as this game was filled with offensive firepower throughout.

The Celtics fell down by 11 with just over six minutes to play in the game, but put together enough stops and clutch plays to force overtime.

From there, they hit one too many shots for Charlotte to keep up with, scoring 18 points in the final five-minute period.

When the team finishes with 140 points, there’s gonna be lots of stat lines to be happy about.

Let’s put grades on each player.

Boston Celtics Grades: Jayson Tatum (A+)

Jayson Tatum bounced back from his early-season woes in a big way Monday night, finishing with 41 points on 14-of-28 shooting, 6-of-12 from deep, to go along with seven rebounds, eight assists, and only two turnovers.

JT was hitting in all stages of the game.

He carried multiple units where he was the only shot creator on the floor, with his passing being much improved from just last season. This pass to Rob Williams to take the lead late in the 4Q is just one example of that.

He has shown his ability to pass out of double teams on the baseline effectively, whereas in years past they would be automatic turnovers. This development in Jayson Tatum’s game has taken him to the next level (if there even is one), solidifying him as a bonified superstar

This is Tatum’s third 40/5/5 game, which is good for most in Boston Celtics history.

Boston Celtics Grades: Jaylen Brown (A)

Jaylen Brown had an extraordinary offensive game for himself, scoring 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting. He also had nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, and one jaw-dropping overtime poster over Miles Bridges.

Along with Tatum, Brown has been effective in creating his own shot despite less spacing on the court at times. His ability to both drive to the hoop with his improved handle, along with spot up from deep, was showcased repeatedly against the poor Hornets defense.

Coach Udoka has to figure out how to put them in better positions to succeed, as most of their baskets are difficult to come by against better defenses. The goal should be to allow both Brown and Tatum to run the offense with the ball in their hands, rather than playing off the ball.

Nonetheless, Jaylen was excellent Sunday, both on offense and on the glass.

Boston Celtics Grades: Robert Williams (A-)

Through about 3-quarters of this game, Robert Williams would have gotten a much lower grade.

Due to their switching system, Williams was often defending quicker players on the perimeter such as LaMelo Ball. Instead of challenging them to go by him and attempting to contest with his quick recovery skills, he gave opponents space to spot up from behind the line.

This led to many Hornets treys in the first half, turning this into a full-blown shootout. However, once the fourth quarter hit, Timelord had his best performance of this young season.

Finishing with 12 points, 16 rebounds (six offensive), four assists, and three blocks, Williams kept the Boston Celtics in the game.

He got his hands on almost every loose ball, accounting for many of the team’s 17 second-chance points. Once Charlotte was forced to take Mason Plumlee off the floor, the Hornets had nobody to jump with the high-flying Williams.

Rob’s ability to use his athleticism against traditional centers opens up the offense so much more, as the Boston Celtics have a legitimate lob threat every time they fly down the court.

With the improved passing of both Tatum and Brown, Williams will be looking at more and more opportunities at the rim each game.

Boston Celtics Grades: Dennis Schroder (A-)

Dennis Schroder kept Boston in the game early, scoring eight points in the first quarter. He then was an effective closer for the team, hitting a clutch three to tie the game in overtime at 129.

He recorded 23 points on 6-of-14 shooting and four-of-nine from deep to go along with six rebounds and eight assists. The Celtics will happily take that stat line from the veteran guard every night, as he was thrust into the starting lineup with the injury to Al Horford.

The fit of Marcus Smart and Schroder together is an odd one, as neither are knock-down shooters, and both like to operate with the ball in their hands.

With them both sharing the floor with Tatum and Brown, more spacing could be used in the starting lineup, but they made it work in the second half.

Schroder hitting four triples was huge, but a floor spacer at shooting guard may make the Celtics’ lineup more effective against a better defense.

Boston Celtics Grades: Marcus Smart (B-)

It’s extremely hard to grade Marcus Smart’s performance. Throughout the first four games of the year, he has yet to find his offensive touch, finishing with seven points on 3-of-12 shooting this game.

However, as Marcus Smart does, he made a huge trey to start their comeback in the fourth, and got the ginormous deflection and steal at the end of regulation.

Besides that, he struggled on both sides of the ball in the first half, seeming to be a step slow on the defensive end.

In the second half, he reverted back to old Marcus, providing Boston with a sense of resistance, one that they hadn’t shown at all through the first two quarters.

Ideally, either Smart or Schroder should go to the bench to run the second unit, as they are an extremely unorthodox fit in the backcourt together.

At this point, Boston Celtics fans might have to just trust Smart to make the big play down the stretch, as he seemingly always does.