On Wednesday night the Boston Celtics will welcome Dwight Howard and the Charlotte Hornet to the TD Garden for the last of a two-game homestand.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Celtics are riding a three-game winning streak following their return from the All-Start break. And the Hornets are riding a streak of their own, having won five straight prior to losing four in a row before the break.
During the C’s current run, they’re averaging 113.3 points-per-game, up almost 10-points from their season average of 103.6.
And over the Hornets’ winning streak, they’re averaging more than 113 points-per-game, while beating opponents by an average of 15 points.
It appears that the Hornets are sealing up things on the defensive end of the floor, holding opponents to under 99 points-per-game, down more than seven points on their season average of 106.7.
As for the Celtics, they’re currently one of two teams that are allowing less than 100 points-per-game, with the other being the San Antonio Spurs (98.8).
Over the C’s winning streak, the NBA’s top rated defense with a defensive rating of a 101, is allowing 102.6 points-per-game, up more than two points over their season average of 99.8.
Yet the Celtics are beating opponents by an average of 10.6 points-per-game over their last three wins. And they’ve been able to hold two of their last three opponents to under 100 points.
Celtics’ guard Kyrie Irving has been on fire of late, averaging more than 24 points-per-game on 54 percent shooting during the C’s current run. But he’s not the only one that’s on fire heading into tonight’s game.
All-Star guard Kemba Walker is averaging the same points-per-game as Irving over the Hornets’ winning streak, but he’s shooting less than 48 percent from the field.
We can expect plenty of hands in the paint tonight to go along with an epic battle on the boards. The Hornets are one of the league’s best at snagging rebounds, ranking third, with the Celtics not far behind at ninth. And the C’s are only averaging one less rebound-per-game than the Hornets. So there’s that.
INJURY REPORT: @hornets at Boston tonight:— Charlotte Hornets PR (@HornetsPR) February 28, 2018
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Left hamstring soreness - questionable
Cody Zeller - Left knee soreness - questionable
Dwight Howard - Right Rhomboid spasm - probable #BuzzCity
If the Hornets’ players listed above don’t end up playing, look for the Celtics’ bigs, along with Jaylen Brown to have a big night. Jayson Tatum and Al Horford will be looking to rebound from Monday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, where they each only had five points, and shot for a combined three-of-fifteen from the field.
It’ll take a complete team effort to knock off the buzzing Hornets tonight at the Garden. The Celtics will need to lockdown the perimeter and keep Walkers’ open looks to a minimum, while sealing up the paint and keeping their own forced shots to a minimum.
You can catch the call of tonight’s game on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell. Pregame coverage begins at 7:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.
Injury Update: Earlier today the Celtics announced that the t-shirt-less Daniel Theis will out of the lineup with right hamstring soreness.
Looking Ahead: The Celtics will kickoff a three-game road trip Saturday night against the Houston Rockets. Currently the Rockets is hottest team in the NBA, winning 13 straight, while jumping the Golden State Warriors for the number one spot in the West.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com