Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 29, 2016
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte
CHARLOTTE – (Wire Service Preview) – The Charlotte Hornets opened the season with back-to-back road wins and aim to continue the success when they face the Boston Celtics in their home opener on Saturday. Charlotte’s second win came in impressive fashion on Friday as it rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to record a 97-91 road victory over the Miami Heat.
The Hornets’ turnaround was dramatic as they outscored Miami 48-19 in a nearly 18-minute stretch to take a 94-84 lead and cruise to the finish. “One thing is we were able to stop their penetration more,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford told reporters. “Our defense more energized the offense, and we got really good bench play.” Boston All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas is off to a good start by scoring 25 points in both games and he is also averaging 6.5 assists and two steals. Center Al Horford, lured away from the Atlanta Hawks with a four-year, $113 million contract, is averaging just 11 points as he tries to fit in with his new teammates.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Southeast (Charlotte), NBA League Pass
ABOUT THE CELTICS (1-1): Boston was badly outworked by Chicago in its second contest, particularly with the Bulls collecting 18 offensive rebounds and scoring 18 second-chance points. Coach Brad Stevens was highly disappointed that his squad was outrebounded 67-44 and he may opt to give backup center Tyler Zeller (4.5 rebounds) more minutes against Charlotte. Shooting guard Avery Bradley leads the Celtics in rebounding (7.5) and Horford is next with an average of six per game.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (2-0): Standout guard Kemba Walker scored 24 points to pace Charlotte on Friday and he was one of six players to score in double digits. Four of those players were bench players with backup shooting guard Jeremy Lamb playing the best with 16 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. “They were great,” Walker said of the Hornets’ bench. “They made plays defensively, pushed the tempo. They gave us that extra boost and gave us starters that opportunity to go win the basketball game in the fourth quarter.”
1. Hornets C Roy Hibbert (knee) departed after 4 1/2 minutes of Friday’s contest and is unlikely to play Saturday.
2. Boston backup SF Jaylen Brown, the third overall pick in the 2016 draft, is averaging 8.5 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
3. Charlotte’s victory on April 11 snapped a four-game losing streak against Boston.