“Defense? Who needs to play that?” seemed to be the theme in the Boston Celtics’ 134-106 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
It was a big night for Kyrie Irving and Aron Baynes in the Celtics’ fourth straight win, with Irving dropping 34 points and Baynes posting a double-double.
Kyrie Irving just became the 5th Celtic ever to make 160 three-pointers in a single-season.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) March 1, 2018
Antoine Walker (2001, 2002, 2003)
Paul Pierce (2002)
Ray Allen (2008, 2009, 2011)
Isaiah Thomas (2016, 2017)
Coming into tonight’s game each team was riding a winning steak of their own. The Celtics kick started their three game roll just after the All-Star break and the Hornets have been rolling, winning five straight after losing four in a row prior to the break.
It was a short bench for the Hornets with both Cody Zeller (left knee soreness) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (left hamstring soreness) out of the lineup. The Celtics were without Daniel Theis (right hamstring soreness) as well.
After a complete lack of defense in the first by both teams, it was the Celtics who were able take a 37-31 lead into the second quarter.
Monroe spins and finishes in the lane! pic.twitter.com/LD9iMWddsF— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 1, 2018
Forward Greg Monroe provided a good spark for the Celtics, scoring the first seven points in the first 2:15 of the second. He’d go onto to finish the night with 14 poinrs (6-9 FG) and four rebounds.
The Hornets never held a lead in the game but it looked like the Hornets were swarming back halfway through the second. But the Celtics kept their foot on the pedal, taking a 67-59 lead into halftime.
At halftime, Kyrie Irving was leading all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-14 from the field. And Hornets’ guard Kemba Walker was shooting the lights out of the TD Garden with an impressive eight-of-eight from the field for 21 points.
It took more than 16 minutes of floor-time for Al Horford to get on the board, but he later finished the game with five points (2-4 FG), two rebounds and four assists.
By the end of the third quarter, Irving already had 34 points through 25 minutes on the floor. And the Celtics took a 103-70 lead into the fourth, where he didn’t see the floor again. He also finished the game with four rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Kyrie Irving's 18th game of 30 or more points this season is tied for 5th-most in the NBA— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) March 1, 2018
Irving has reached the 30-point mark in 3 of his last 5 contests
The Celtics would go onto score another 30-plus points for the fourth time in the game, propelling them to a a season-high 134 points in the win. And prior to the game, the Hornets were holding opponents to just under 99 points-per-game during their five game winning streak.
Baynes shot well from the field, finishing the game with 12 points on six-of-seven shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. And Jaylen Brown stepped up big with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Celtics bench combined for 61 points, with Marcus Morris leading the way with 15 points (7-12 FG) and eight rebounds. Terry Rozier III had 14, with Marcus Smart dropping a dime on four-of-five shooting.
Morris splashes home the sweet turnaround J! pic.twitter.com/hpOOJEvKRJ— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 1, 2018
At halftime, the Celtics were shooting a whopping 63 percent from the field and would later finish the game shooting 62 percent. The C’s were knocking down threes at good clip throughout the game as well. They’d go onto knockdown 16-of-20 three-pointers, for an impressive 60 percent mark.
After tonight’s win, the Celtics are now 37-4 when leading by double-digits. And the C’s have now won 36 straight games when leading by 15-plus points, according to the voice of the Celtics, Sean Grande.
The Celtics are now 44-19 and trail the Toronto Raptor by half a game for the number one spot in the East with only seven home games and 12 away games left to play.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (44-19) will kickoff a three-game road trip Saturday night against the Houston Rockets (47-13). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com