Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 22, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics try for their third straight victory when they host the Charlotte Hornets this evening. Boston defeated Detroit 114-93 on Friday and continues to get by without key contributors Marcus Smart, who has missed the last five games with an eye infection that is not getting any better, and Gordon Hayward – day-to-day with left foot soreness.
“It’s nothing muscular. It’s nothing bone-wise,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters about Hayward, who has missed the past two games. “So he’s just got pain in one spot, whether from the (cortisone) shot that could be better within any day now, or whether it’s something that he just needs to continue to figure out how to manage it best. That’s probably the way that they’re going to have to look at it. But he’s going to be day-to-day.”
The Hornets fell to Utah 114-107 on Saturday for their third loss in four games despite 29 points from ex-Celtic Terry Rozier. Boston prevailed 108-87 on Nov. 7 in the first of three meetings this season as Kemba Walker had 14 points and six assists in an emotional return to Charlotte. Walker, a three-time All-Star whose career scoring average is 19.96 points, played his first eight seasons with the Hornets before signing with the Celtics in July.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Charlotte), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE HORNETS (13-19): Rozier has scored 64 points in his last two games, raising his season average to 17.4 points – second on the team to Devonte’ Graham (19.2). Graham scored 22 versus Utah after totaling nine in a 100-98 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday – the first time he didn’t reach double figures in 25 games. Cody Zeller provided 13 points and eight boards in 23 minutes off the bench, leaving his club-high rebound average at 8.0.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (19-7): Walker was 0-for-6 from the field and scored two points but provided a season-high 11 assists against Detroit. Jaylen Brown has scored 26 points in each of the last two games while Jayson Tatum also scored 26 on Friday after totaling 24 in Wednesday’s 109-103 victory at Dallas. Tacko Fall, a 7-6 rookie center, played his second game of the season and first at home, scoring five points in five minutes.
- Boston rookie F Grant Williams, a Charlotte native, scored a season-high 18 on Friday after totaling 16 in his previous 10 games.
- Hayward and Hornets assistant Ronald Nored were teammates at Butler from 2008-10 when Stevens was the coach.
- The Celtics are 11-1 at home, losing to Philadelphia 115-109 on Dec. 12, and 12-1 versus sub-.500 teams.
PREDICTION: Celtics 113, Hornets 101