The Boston Celtics haven’t had many nights that they put it all together and got everybody involved, but Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets was one of them.
The Celtics used a second quarter in which they allowed just 17 points and a third frame in which they scored 40 themselves to earn a dominant 116-86 victory over the visiting Hornets.
Boston’s ball movement was very good (29 assists), its defensive was improved (Charlotte shot 41% from the floor) and the Celtics shot and made a lot of 3-pointers (39%, 21-for-54). All in all, it was a positive performance for a team who is in dire need of them.
The Celtics had six players score double figures including all five starters — Jayson Tatum (22 points), Jaylen Brown (17), Robert Williams (16), Marcus Smart (12), Kemba Walker (12) — and trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier (17).
Former Celtic Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 22 points.
Boston gets back to .500, 25-25 on the season, after the win while Charlotte fell to 25-24 with the loss.
Here’s how it went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart:
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jason Tatum
C: Robert Williams
SETTLING FROM DEEP
The Celtics put up 16 first-quarter 3-pointers, shooting 31% from beyond the arc after making just five, en route to a 26-25 deficit after the opening frame.
Boston trailed by nine points early in the quarter with the Celtics settling from deep, but Boston was able to put together a 13-4 run starting at the six-minute mark to stop the bleeding.
Brown led all scorers with 11 first-quarter points (4-for-7) while Robert Williams and Fournier each chipped in six. Fournier, of note, hit his first two 3-pointers of the game, which meant he had hit eight straight dating back to Friday’s win over the Houston Rockets.
Boston finished the quarter shooting 41% from the field (9-for-22). Three starters — Tatum, Smart and Walker — didn’t score.
Romeo Langford checked in off the bench with two minutes left in the frame.
Rozier led the Hornets with 10 points as Charlotte shot 50% from the field (10-for-20) including 57% from long range (4-for-7). It wasn’t the Celtics best defensive quarter.
MAKING A RUN
The Celtics opened the second quarter on a 12-2 run and took a 44-30 lead midway through the period en route to a 58-43 lead at the intermission.
The lead came as Boston turned it up a notch on the defensive end, allowing just 17 points in the second.
Langford hit his first shot of the season to get the second-quarter scoring started, all while making an impactful defensive play on the other end.
Fournier stayed hot, as well. He finished with 12 points off the bench on a perfect 3-for-3 from long range and 4-for-5 from the field.
Brown scored a team-high 14 points in the half while Tatum (seven), Smart (six) and Walker (four) all joined the scoring column in the second quarter.
Boston shot 49% from the field in the first half and 37% from beyond the arc (10-for-27).
EXTENDING THEIR LEAD
Tatum scored 15 points in the third quarter, including a 26-footer at the buzzer, to help Boston extend its lead to 98-70 entering the final quarter.
The Celtics were sharing the basketball extremely well through the first three quarters, depicted by the team’s 24 assists and the fact that five starters — Tatum (22), Brown (17), Robert Williams (14), Smart (12) and Walker (12) — all scored double figures through the first 36 minutes.
Fournier scored 14 points off the bench to that point, as well.
It didn’t hurt that Boston hit 18 3-pointers in the first three quarters, either.
NEVER IN DOUBT
The Celtics made sure it their lead never came into question, extending it 109-79 on a 3-pointer from Payton Pritchard five minutes into the quarter.
Fournier finally missed a 3-pointer after having made 10 straight dating back to Friday’s win. The miss came with just under nine minutes left in the game.
Head coach Brad Stevens emptied the bench as even Tacko Fallo got some run, and finished with three points.
Boston had 13 players find the scoring column when it was all said and done.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Rob Lob continues to be among Boston’s most successful offensive plays.
The Celtics will return to the floor at TD Garden as they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.