Flipping the change: 10 Takeaways from Boston Celtics-Charlotte Hornets

1. Talk about flipping the change. For most of the first half, the Boston Celtics gave the impression to be going by way of the motions, and the Charlotte Hornets took benefit. With about two minutes to play earlier than the break, Boston locked in. That carried over to the second half, and the Celtics by no means seemed again.

From trailing by as many as 16 factors to main by as many as 18 factors, to working away with a 16-point win, Boston flipped the change in a serious means.

Sure, you’d favor the Celtics confirmed up able to dominate from the opening tip. But that is merely not the way it works. Some nights that can chunk you. You let the opponent out of the field and might’t cram them again in. Some video games you may’t get it collectively in time to make the rally. But on different nights, you work it out and draw back for a win.

Coming off a string of spectacular victories, we aren’t going to look down on the Celtics for not having it collectively towards a far lesser opponent for 48 minutes. It’s simple to say “What in the event that they did not rally?” and to be adverse. But that is lacking that Boston did, the truth is, rally. They wakened and took care of enterprise in a formidable means in the second half, particularly contemplating they have been down two starters.

2. Even when the Celtics protection was leaving quite a bit to be desired, the offense was fairly dialed in. Boston tallied 35 assists on 47 baskets. The first half featured plenty of nice ball motion the place everybody was getting a tricky, whereas the second half was the extra conventional drive-and-kick, pick-and-roll and working the break stuff.

Kickout cross, swing cross, additional cross, splash:

It’s unlucky that Derrick White received harm (suffered a neck sprain after a collision with Marcus Smart in the first quarter), as a result of he was off to a terrific begin.

The performs the place Boston strikes the ball most frequently finish in an open three-pointer, however generally they end at the rim. Good job by Luke Kornet to maintain this ball alive to begin the play. From there, Marcus Smart makes an awesome cross to the reducing Malcolm Brogdon, who leaves it for Kornet to complete off with the dunk:

That identical trio connects right here. Kornet does a pleasant job being large and in the means on the handoff to Smart. When he goes up, Smart goes to shoot this, however he finds Brogdon. Because Kornet is taking on house, the Hornets can not help the helper. And the weakside wing is not leaving Al Horford, who already hit a few threes. The result’s an open triple for Brogdon:

In late-clock conditions, it’s normal for the ballhandler to attempt to do it himself. Here, Brogdon attracts the protection and drops it off to Rob Williams. Now, to be balanced, Williams ought to have simply dunked this. No purpose to make issues more durable than they have to be Instead, Williams kicks it out to Jayson Tatum, who fires the one-handed swing cross to Horford in a single movement. Horford is aware of the clock and flips it to Brogdon, who relocated to the nook after passing to Williams to begin the cycle:

3. We’re going to pause right here to offer some like to Malcolm Brogdon. This was his finest recreation as a Celtic, and it got here when the group actually wanted it. Jaylen Brown was out on account of his sore adductor, and Derrick White was misplaced early in the first quarter.

That meant Brogdon needed to see an uptick in minutes and manufacturing. In 31 minutes, the veteran guard dropped 30 factors on 11-of-17 taking pictures, together with 4-of-6 from behind the arc.

You’ll see Brogdon sprinkled in plenty of the clips we pulled, however there aren’t a ton of true “wow!” performs from him. He’s simply steadily stable. Nothing flashy, however as a rule, Brogdon makes the proper play. Boston may be very fortunate to have him.

4. As a lot as Malcolm Brogdon’s play helped get the Celtics going, Rob Williams is the one who actually received issues rotated for the Celtics.

Early on, Williams did his vertical spacing factor on back-to-back journeys. This is informal excellence, as Jayson Tatum flips the lob to Rob:

If the large cheats too early when a Boston ballhandler drives off a display screen, Williams is coming in the backdoor for the lob:

While the lobs are enjoyable, it was Williams’ vitality and energy that modified the recreation. This monster offensive rebound and putback for the and-1 completed off a possession the place Williams stored the ball alive for 3 photographs:

On this play, Williams dug out the free ball earlier than getting it to Al Horford to swing to Malcolm Brogdon:

Those two performs, plus Williams urging a pickup in the defensive depth, helped Boston flip the change late in the first half.

5. Earlier, we lined a few of the ball motion from Boston the place a bunch of men touched the ball to make performs. Here’s some equally good ball and participant motion, however in two-man actions.

On this play, Marcus Smart threw a bomb to Jayson Tatum that’s pretty much as good as any you may see in the NFL playoffs this weekend:

This was an awesome late-clock lower by Payton Pritchard and an impressive discover from Al Horford:

Horford performed a terrific all-around recreation on this one. Pritchard helps out right here by setting an excellent display screen to free Jayson Tatum on the lower:

This was a easy, however good cross from Smart. He throws it away from the paint, the place the assistance is and helps lead Tatum to the baseline, the place he can overpower Terry Rozier:

6. Jayson Tatum and Malcolm Brogdon mixed for 63 factors, however this was one other win for Boston the place they received quite a bit from the complete lively roster. Everyone who performed contributed. Al Horford had his finest all-around recreation of the season, whereas Rob Williams vitality modified the recreation earlier than the half. Luke Kornet and Grant Williams did not rating a lot, however crammed up the stat sheet in different methods, together with some good protection in the second half.

Derrick White was off to a scorching begin earlier than getting harm, and Marcus Smart was dropping dimes throughout the place. And Payton Pritchard turned in a second robust outing off the bench.

The Celtics bench depth past Brogdon does not all the time bounce out at you. But for those who watch each recreation, you see these guys know their roles. They’re ready to do what’s requested of them, even when the enjoying time is inconsistent. It’s the sort of stable bench that may assist you to navigate an extended common season and might be additive in the playoffs.

7. It’s an indication of how good the Celtics have been as an entire, that Jayson Tatum’s finest performs are this deep in the Takeaways. Tatum did his finest work in the mid-post space. By taking no dribbles, the assist does not know when to come back and Tatum has the dimension and ability to show and shoot over most defenders:

This is a mid-post contact in transition. From there, Tatum makes use of the lightning-quick spin to get to the baseline drive for the dunk:

(*10*)This one other no-dribble shot from the mid-post space. This time, Tatum has the a lot smaller defender and easily rises and fires over him:

8. Al Horford does most of his work as a stretch large now. It’s been an evolution that started in his final yr in Atlanta and continued by way of each of his Boston tenures. Even with a droop in December, Horford is taking pictures 44.1% from behind the arc this yr.

The nook three, the proper nook particularly, has change into Horford’s cash shot:

This is the different shot Horford will get quite a bit. Bigs instinctually get again in transition to guard the paint. Each recreation, Horford will get a 3 or two in transition as a trailer or semi-trailer:

9. We referred to as it out earlier, however this was one other actually productive recreation for Payton Pritchard. He could also be the finest catch-and-shoot-on-the-move shooter on the Celtics. Look at how arduous Pritchard comes off this display screen to get himself open:

He’s not Marcus Smart or Derrick White, however for those who get cute with the dribble, Pritchard will choose your pocket and head the different means:

The NBA’s chief in offensive rebounds per inches tall was at it once more too:

10. It wasn’t the prettiest begin for the Celtics, however they received it finished in the finish. That’s what issues.

Now, they have to do it once more on Monday afternoon. Boston is sticking in Charlotte to shut out the mini-series with an MLK Day matinee. It’s arduous to beat the identical group twice in a row, however the Celtics must be in fine condition to drag it off, even when Derrick White does not play.

After the MLK Day recreation, Boston has two days off earlier than an enormous rematch with the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden on Thursday. Then it is proper again on the street once more. But the Celtics cannot overlook the Hornets. Take care of that one first, then getting some measure of revenge might be dealt with late subsequent week.

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