Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Hornets – Spectrum Center – 19/10/23 – 7:00 pm (ET)
The Boston Celtics went full-strength with their lineup as they ended their final home preseason game with a huge win over the New York Knicks.
Their final preseason opponents, the Charlotte Hornets, are 1-2 so far, with the Celtics 3-1.
What kind of lineups might we expect from both organizations on Thursday night? Will the Celtics go full-strength yet again in order to maintain momentum and form for the regular season?
Will Joe Mazzulla select a similar Celtics side in their final preseason clash against the Hornets?
The Boston Celtics flexed their muscles on Tuesday night against the New York Knicks, utilizing their full-strength starting five for the first time since their opening preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
With the team playing as a well-oiled, cohesive unit, should we expect Mazzulla to select the same, or at least a similar, starting lineup against the Hornets on Thursday night?
One of the biggest talking points from the Tuesday night game against the Knicks was the exceptional sharpshooting of the Celtics from beyond the arc. As a team, they shot 52 total 3-pointers, with 23 of them being successful (44.2%).
Some players definitely stood out — like like Jayson Tatum, who managed to hit 5/8 of his attempts from the 3-point line (62.5%), and his co-stars Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, and Al Horford, who all managed an impressive 50% from beyond the arc. If this kind of shooting form continues into the regular season, Celtics fans are in for a treat.
Even though Payton Pritchard has been unbelievable this preseason, I don’t think he gets the start ahead of either Derrick White or Holiday, as I expect the All-Defensive backcourt duo to make back-to-back starts. Although White didn’t play against the Knicks at the levels we know he can, his performance against the 76ers on October 11th was enough for me to expect his name to be in the starting lineup. During that game against the Sixers, White managed 11 points, three rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and one steal, all from only 17 minutes on the court, cementing his name as a valuable starter for the Celtics.
White’s backcourt co-star stepped up his game during Tuesday night’s victory over the Knicks, putting in a well-rounded performance, managing a respectable stat line of 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. I think it’s important for him to make a start yet again to maintain this momentum and build upon the team’s chemistry.
Is the duo of White and Holiday the best defensive backcourt in the league?
The Boston Celtics showed, in full display, the star power that they possess going into the 2023-24 season, and on Tuesday night in front of their home crowd, we got to see a glimpse of what’s to come. Jaylen Brown, Tatum, and Porzingis all flaunted their hooping muscles as they dominated on both ends of the court.
Brown vs. Knicks: 17 points, three rebounds, six assists, 40% from the field, and 42.9% from beyond the arc.
Tatum vs. Knicks: 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, one block, 60% from the field, and 62.5% from beyond the arc.
Porzingis vs. Knicks: 20 points, 8 rebounds, one steal, two blocks, 61.5% from the field, and 50% from beyond the arc.
I expect all three to make the starting lineup yet again on Thursday night against the Hornets, allowing for an expansion of the already present chemistry. The talent, and depth, of the Celtics this season are intoxicating and fans, including myself, are overflowing with anticipation and excitement.
Here is what Porzingis had to say after the victory about starting roles and rotating the starting five:
"“I think we all are wiling to take whatever the situation is going to be, whoever is going to start, whoever, whatever. I don’t think these guys care at all, all we care about is winning and playing the right way. We got to trust Joe (Mazzulla) with thise kind of things, and the rotations. There’s going to be some nights somebody is going to rest, and the starting fives going to look different, so we’re prepared for it all, and it doesnt really make a huge difference for us.”"
With the prediction of a small-ball lineup, including both White and Holiday in the starting five, Horford would then have to be given a bench role yet again. But what an option he is to have off the bench. Even at the age of 37, the ability is still there; aged like a fine wine, as they say. In the minutes Horford got during the Knicks game, he showed why he is still a crucial piece to this Celtics team this season, especially if banner 18 is to be added to the rafters of TD Garden.
As Porzingis mentioned, the team isn’t worried about who starts, and who gets given a bench role – as this will likely change frequently based on the opponent – all they care about is if they win.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Kristaps Porzingis
I’m expecting the same lineup from Tuesday night’s victory over the Knicks, to continue expanding on what is already working. The spacing this team provides is second to none, and with the chemistry already being established, things can only get better from this stellar Boston Celtics side. Can they end the preseason 4-1? I certainly think so.
With the Charlotte Hornets looking to end their preseason run with a win over the Boston Celtics, how might their starting five look?
The Charlotte Hornets preseason campaign hasn’t come with the results that the fans may have been hoping for, and with one game remaining, they will be looking to end it on a high with a victory at home over the Boston Celtics. Due to this, I’m expecting Steve Clifford to name a full-strength side, but who does that include?
This offseason has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the Hornets organization, from the highs of drafting Brandon Miller, to the lows of releasing Kai Jones, and the recent suspension of Miles Bridges. With the team struggling last season, finishing No. 14 in the NBA Eastern Conference with a record of 27-55, and the addition of the previously mentioned offseason issues, their need to move the franchise in the right direction is paramount.
There was one silver lining to last season’s poor results, and that was ending up with the second overall pick, which resulted in the selection of the Tennesse-born forward, Miller. So far this preseason, Miller hasn’t managed to score more than nine points in his two appearances, but I do not doubt his abilities, and I don’t expect this form to continue for long as I anticipate him starting alongside the Hornets’ star guard, LaMelo Ball, for Thursday’s clash with the Celtics.
P.J. Washington has started in all three of the Hornets’ preseason games so far, and after an incredible performance in their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, I expect him to be in the starting lineup for this fourth and final game.
During that game, he managed an incredible 31 points, with Terry Rozier coming in second in scoring with a respectable 19 points. If the Hornets are to build any sort of momentum and form going into the regular season, both Washington and Rozier need to start – and need to play well.
Due to a lack of depth in the center position, and with him starting in all three preseason games so far, I expect Mark Williams to be in the starting five again on Thursday night.
As the 15th overall pick in 2022, the Virginia-born Centre has a lot to prove as he approaches his sophomore year in the NBA. His preseason stat lines haven’t been anything to shout about so far, but as the season approaches, this is the perfect chance for him to prove to the organization that he is the guy who can fill the Hornets’ center position going forward.
Charlotte Hornets Predicted Lineup
PG: LaMelo Ball
SG: Terry Rozier
SF: Brandon Miller
PF: P.J. Washington
C: Mark Williams
As previously mentioned, the time for the Hornets to make improvements as an organization is now. With the young stars in the form of Ball, Williams, and their 2023 second-overall pick, Miller, there hasn’t been a better foundation for the franchise to build with.
A win against the Celtics would ease the minds of Charlotte fans, players, and staff, but is this lineup good enough to clinch a crucial, momentum-building win ahead of the regular season?
Injury Report for October 19th Boston Celtics vs Charlotte Hornets preseason game
Boston Celtics: Jay Scrubb – OUT (Torn ACL)
Charlotte Hornets: None
Boston Celtics 125, Charlotte Hornets 101