We’ll keep this recap short.
The Hornets were down 5-4 in the opening minutes of the game, and that was as close as the game got all night. Boston was scorching hot out of the gates and it was exacerbated by poor effort on closeouts and fighting through ball screens. They made eight of their first 12 threes, burying Charlotte in the opening minutes and building a 45-19 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Celtics got a bit sloppy late in the first quarter and early in the second as the Hornets young players gave the team a burst of energy, but it that momentum was quelled when Blake Griffin threw it back to his Clippers days with a ceiling-scraping alley-oop dunk. Kai Jones had a nice dunk of his own in the second, and the Hornets actually outscored Boston 36-33 in the second quarter. Still, they trailed 78-55 heading into the locker room.
Boston picked up where they left off in the first half as the third quarter began, stretching the lead beyond 30 points. To their credit, the Hornets actually shot the ball well for most of the game, and Jalen McDaniels even set a career-high with 24 points and four made three-pointers. Unfortunately, down five rotation players, the defensive effort and cohesiveness was remarkably poor, and the Celtics kept the lead around 30 points for most of the third.
Grant Williams canned a three to put the Hornets down 42, 127-85, early in the fourth, and the deficit stayed near 40 points throughout the final frame. At least McGowens made some good plays tonight, McDaniels set a career-high in scoring and threes made, and Kelly Oubre Jr. did the “too small” taunt while down 28 points in what might have created the funniest screengrab in NBA history.
Kelly Oubre just did the "too small" taunt while down by 28 pic.twitter.com/CJnBrY0f57— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 29, 2022
The game ended with a 35-point loss, 140-105, which nearly set a Hornets franchise record for most points allowed in a regulation game (per Doug Branson). Also, during Boston’s post-game show, Brian Scalabrine repeatedly said the Hornets “played pretty well” tonight. Take that for what you will.
On the road, against the best team in the NBA, down five rotation players, this kind of result isn’t necessarily expected, but the math does add up. Three days off before the Hornets are back in action against the Washington Wizards on Friday.