The Boston Celtics (23-22, 21-22-2 ATS) take on the Charlotte Hornets (24-20, 27-17 ATS) on Wednesday night in hopes of extending their winning streak to three. Boston is coming off of a big comeback win over the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Hornets just took home a win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Boston Celtics are 3.5-point favorites:
- Point Spread: Boston Celtics -3.5
- Over-Under: 219.5 points
- Money line: Boston Celtics -159, Charlotte Hornets +139
Marcus Smart has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday night’s contest. He has missed the Celtics’ last four games after testing positive and entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Aaron Nesmith was also added to the injury report, listed as questionable with a sprained right ankle. Robert Williams is not on the injury after missing Boston’s game vs. New Orleans due to the birth of his son, Hendrix Rome Williams.
Meanwhile, the Hornets only have one player listed on their injury report. Kelly Oubre Jr. is listed as questionable as he is just now returning from the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
G: Dennis Schroder
G: Jaylen Brown
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams
G: LaMelo Ball
G: Terry Rozier
F: Gordon Hayward
F: Miles Bridges
C: Mason Plumlee
Boston Celtics Overview
The C’s have won five of their last six games and finally look like they are getting back on track. The team is getting healthy, they are closing out games, and things are trending upwards. Dennis Schroder has been gelling with the team lately, although his performances are sporadic. Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are starting to click a bit more. Robert Williams is stringing together great performances. Grant Williams looks awesome. The Celtics are slowly rounding into form.
Brad Stevens even made his first in-season trade of the year on Tuesday night. He dealt Juancho Hernangomez to the San Antonio Spurs in a three-team deal that saw the Celtics add PJ Dozier and Bol Bol. The Denver Nuggets received Bryn Forbes in the trade.
Both players the Celtics received are dealing with injuries right now. Bol is set to undergo foot surgery that will hold him out for 8-to-12 weeks, while Dozier is out indefinitely after tearing his ACL earlier this season. However, the trade gets the Celtics closer to avoiding the tax this season.
Charlotte Hornets Overview
The Hornets have been a tale of two sides this season, just as the Celtics have. While the C’s have a great defense and a poor offense, the opposite can be said about Charlotte. Their offense has been phenomenal this year, but their defense has been atrocious. Charlotte gets caught ball-watching all too often, and there’s a severe lack of communication on the defensive end.
All that being said, their offense is good enough to carry them. LaMelo Ball has been playing like an All-Star this season, as has forward Miles Bridges. That one-two punch has been great for the Hornets. Both are averaging around 20 points, and Ball is putting up stats that lead one to believe he could average a triple-double at some point.
Plus, they have a great supporting cast in Charlotte. Former Celtis Gordon Hayward has put together an extremely efficient season, Kelly Oubre Jr. has been a revelation off the bench, and Terry Rozier is living up to his contract extension, too. They have a lot of weapons to work with.
If the Celtics can slow the Hornets down on offense with their elite defense, they will have a much easier time getting a win. As mentioned, the Hornets are an awful defensive squad, so Boston shouldn’t focus on their offense. They need to focus on getting stops and holding the Hornets to a respectful number on that end.
That being said, the Hornets are undefeated when they allow less than 110 points this season. They are a perfect 14-0. If the Celtics play isolation-heavy basketball, which they have been doing less of lately, then there’s a good chance they could fall into that trap. They need to focus on defense, but that doesn’t mean they should completely abandon all offensive fundamentals.
Lastly, the Celtics cannot turn the ball over against the Hornets. Charlotte is an extremely fast-paced team that loves to get out and run. This also means the Celtics need to get back on defense. Too many times has the duo of Ball and Bridges killed teams for being too slow. Boston just can’t let the Hornets beat them in transition.
The Hornets are not a team the Celtics can afford to underestimate. Both Ball and Bridges are the real deal, and they have the supporting cast to compete with the best teams in the league. However, if they can take advantage of Charlotte’s porous defense, they should be just fine.
Boston Celtics 113, Charlotte Hornets 109
TIP-OFF: 7:30 p.m. @ TD Garden
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: ESPN, NBC Sports Boston