Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Wednesday’s road game vs. Boston Celtics

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Wednesday’s 120-111 Hornets’ road loss to the Boston Celtics that dropped Charlotte to 30-32 overall:

… A slow start doomed Charlotte as Boston roared ahead 39-19 after the first quarter and led for all but a few seconds of the game. Charlotte’s last rally cut the Celtics’ lead to 99-96 with 7:23 to play but Boston responded with a 11-2 surge to close out the victory. “They played with more urgency and made more shots,” Hornets coach James Borrego said of the first quarter.

… With Kemba Walker out with an oblique strain and Marcus Smart serving a one-game NBA suspension, Jaylen Brown (38 points) and Jayson Tatum (35 points) had monstrous games to lead Boston (33-30), which also won the season series with Charlotte two games to one.

… Devonte’ Graham led Charlotte with 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington added 19 points apiece and Cody Zeller 16. Terry Rozier had 15 points but struggled again with his shooting; Rozier is now eight of 35 overall and one of 15 on 3-pointers the last two games. Is Rozier worn down? Said Borrego: “I’m not going to give him that excuse and he’s not going to give himself that excuse.” Said Rozier: “I would just say being human and being a basketball player, you’re going to have slumps. The last two games I didn’t like the way I played.”

… Charlotte got outrebounded 54-33 in Wednesday’s loss and are now 11-23 when outrebounded this season.

… In the next two days, expect LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk to get every opportunity to prove they can return to action. Ball missed his 21st straight game on Wednesday after breaking his right wrist and Monk missed his 15th straight game on Wednesday after spraining his right ankle. “The good news is the schedule gives us two days off,” Borrego said. “We’ll take a look at Melo and take a look at Monk and make a call on that Thursday and Friday.”

… Charlotte has only once this season trailed by double figures at the end of the first two quarters of a game and rallied to get a win; The Hornets trailed 38-22 after the first quarter and 59-47 at halftime at New Orleans on Jan. 8 before rallying for a 118-110 victory.

… With 10 games to go in their season, the Hornets are 30-32 and in eighth place of the Eastern Conference. They are 2 1-2 games behind sixth-place Boston and four games ahead of 11th place Chicago; Six teams will get automatic playoff berths and the seventh- through 10th-place teams advance to a play-in tournament at the end of the regular season.

What’s next: The Hornets host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at 7 p.m. Charlotte will enter Saturday’s game seeking to extend one of only double-digit winning streaks over another NBA opponent; The Hornets have won 11 straight games over the Pistons. Only a 13-game winning streak over Orlando from January 2016 to December 2018 is longer and the 11-game win streak is tied with another 11-game win streak over Detroit that lasted from April 1993 to November 1995.