By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
A then-meaningless three-pointer dropped by Celtics point guard Terry Rozier in the closing seconds of the first half turned out to be a preview of what was to come in an absolute demolition of the Hornets by a 126-94 final at TD Garden.
Long considered a sore spot for this team through the first half (and then some) of the regular season, the third quarter saw the Celtics simply and practically effortlessly explode for 35 points compared to Charlotte’s 16, and with the Celtics converting on 13-of-21 attempts (including a 4-for-8 mark from deep).
The charge was led by Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who combined for 41 points, and shot a combined 15-for-28 in the blowout victory. The effort continued a strong trend of Rozier playing significantly better when asked to be a starter (Kyrie Irving sat out the second game in a row with a hip ailment), while Brown is in the midst of an obvious hot streak, averaging 19.5 points and shooting 55.6 percent from the floor over that stretch.
The Celtics also contributed 34 assists as a team in the winning effort, with tremendous movement that left the Hornets absolutely defenseless in the second half, much to the delight of the Boston head coach.
“It just snowballed,” Brad Stevens, whose team has been nearly unbeatable at home for a month straight now, said of his team’s second-half surge. “It feels good to be on a run like this with different guys involved throughout.
“Everybody that went in off the bench added to it without missing a beat, so that’s a good thing.”
This was also one of the better 2018-19 games from Gordon Hayward. Displaying a solid burst and pace at both ends of the court, Hayward tallied 12 points in 23 minutes behind a 5-of-10 shooting night, and finished with a game-best plus-31. Hayward also hauled in five rebounds, and recorded three assists.
The C’s had six shooters finish with double-digit points by the night’s end.
With the victory, the Green improved to 32-19 on the year, putting 13 games over .500 for the first time all season.
The Celtics will look to make it three wins in a row when they travel to New York for a Friday night meeting with the Knicks.