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The Hornets travel to Boston to face the Eastern Conference leading Celtics

It’s going to be a tough game in Beantown.

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (6-14) at Boston Celtics (16-4)

When: 7:30 pm EDT

Where: TD Garden; Boston, MA

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

The Celtics have been among the NBA’s best teams this year and currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference while the Hornets have a steep hill to climb to even sniff the postseason by year’s end. Boston has been on fire as of late by winning 12 of their last 13 games. The Hornets, meanwhile, had lost 11 of 12 before their recent two-game winning streak.

Boston Celtics overview

Even casual NBA observers know the Celtics are built on the foundation of wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both of Boston’s young studs are playing at All-Star levels again this year with Tatum averaging 30.5 points and Brown chipping in 25.6 points per game. However, Tatum missed Boston’s game yesterday with a left ankle sprain and his status for tonight is still up in the air.

Rounding out the starting five are defensive ace point guard Marcus Smart, steady shooting guard Derrick White, and veteran center Al Horford.

Boston’s bench is led by guard Malcom Brogdon, who is more than capable of guiding the team offensively, and big man Grant Williams. Second-year small forward Sam Hauser has been a sniper from long distance hitting 47.6% of his 3-point attempts, and he may get even more looks tonight if Tatum can’t go.

How the Hornets can win

Even if Jayson Tatum doesn’t suit up, this is still going to be a tough road game for the Hornets. The Celtics are deep and just a solid, well-rounded team. Injuries are bedeviling the Hornets right now with LaMelo Ball still out, Dennis Smith Jr. day-to-day, Cody Martin still recovering from knee surgery, and now Gordon Hayward out indefinitely with a fractured shoulder. That’s not a recipe for success.

The saving grace for the Hornets is this is the second game in a back-to-back for the Celtics while Charlotte last played on Friday. Perhaps the Celtics will be a bit tired and look past the Hornets. Anything can happen on “any given Monday” in the NBA, but a win for Charlotte tonight will be tough to come by.