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By the Numbers: Undermanned Celtics Beat Hornets

Bench players to help erase a 12-point deficit in the 4th quarter


Kyrie Irving got hurt early in the game and never returned. 


First, Gordon Hayward is long out after twisting his foot 6 minutes into the Celtics' opening night game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, Al Horford got hurt and missed the last few games which the Celtics fortunately won. Jayson Tatum also got hurt but was able to play.

Then, this.

Just when everyone thought that from the very moment Kyrie Irving got elbowed in the face during the first quarter, Boston's winning streak may be over as they fell behind, 26-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Nope!

The Boston Celtics fought their way back into the game and outscored the Charlotte Hornets in the 4th quarter, 26-11, en route to a 90-87 victory over Kemba Walker and the rest of the Hornets. That, folks, is Boston's 11th STRAIGHT VICTORY. This pundit on wheels emphasized that because the Celtics did it without one of the prized acquisitions during the off-season. 

Just how good the Cs against the Hornets last night? Check out the numbers below:





Balanced Scoring

Unlike the Hornets who had Kemba Walker leading the way with 20 points but no other starters scored in double figures, one of the many things that enabled the Celtics to keep their winning streak going was their balanced scoring:
  • Jayson Tatum: 16 points 
  • Shane Larkin: 16 points
  • Terry Rozier: 15 points
  • Marcus Morris: 14 points
  • Jaylen Brown: 10 points and 13 rebounds
The best thing about this win for the Celtics: they can win even without anyone scoring above 20 points. Now that's efficiency at its finest, folks. 


Celtics Took Advantage of their Free Throws

In a game where both teams were having a bad shooting night (Celtics at 35% while Hornets at 38%), another thing that won the game for the Celtics was their free throw shooting. Compared to Charlotte who only made 19 of their 33 attempts from the line, the Celtics hit 21 of their 25 free throw attempts. Given how close the final score was, one could only think: if Dwight Howard could only hit more than just 2 of 9 attempts, the outcome would have been different, right?

Conclusion

If the Boston Celtics can keep up the consistency and the determination that they showed against the Hornets, they can definitely round up more wins especially with the possibility of Kyrie Irving missing the Celtics' upcoming game against the Toronto Raptors.

And if you were the Raptors,  you wouldn't want to underestimate a Celtics team that is already without Hayward and Horford to begin with. You have seen what they could do with Irving on board. You have seen what they could do without #11. 

Either way, the Boston Celtics are still the hottest team in the league right now. 

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