The Hornets came into the TD Garden to face the Boston Celtics with more questions than answers. The injury list could start a line-up of its own with LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk, and the new addition Gordon Hayward all in different phases of rehab. Hayward’s injury, just announced the day before the Celtics game, put the Hornets in a talent deficit that would be hard to overcome even for the deepest of teams. The cavalry didn’t arrive as the Hornets lost by a whopping 30 points 86-116.
That talent deficit was apparent from the jump as Boston stretched the lead to double digits and it hovered there for the entire first half. The new guard in green, Evan Fouriner, found the bottom of the net early to the tune of 12 points in 15 first half minutes. Fournier was connected to Charlotte before the trade deadline but landed in Boston.
Terry, doing Terry, found space in a crowd. He was a target for double teams and the Celtics defense never took their eyes off of him. With that being said, Terry did not shy away from taking the offense unto his hands. He ended the night with eight minutes left in the 4th; 22pts on 8-19 shooting. It became clear early that a herculean Rozier effort was not going to be enough to pull out the win.
The battle in Boston was lost before it started due to the lack of availability of key players on the Hornets roster. But the dagger was the discrepancy in turnovers. The Hornets ended the night with 17 turnovers versus 6 for Boston, which is how you lose a basketball game. In part due to the lack of playmakers, passes were made in desperation as one on one plays would breakdown and Terry or Miles Bridges would try to find a release valve only to lose possession from a tipped pass.
The lead ballooned to 25 in the third quarter as the Celtics continued to take and make shots. The referees started to swallow their whistles even when there were legit fouls being made by boston. Jalen McDaniels got the most opportunity he’s had all year. He is able to get a step on his defender, but is inconsistent in his finishes and the 3-pointers that can stretch the court to create space. He ended the game with 7 points in 17 minutes.
With the game well out of hand the Hornets dug deep into the bench. Nate Darling connected from three off a quick move past a screen, but was unable to hit an open trey on his next opportunity. Nick Richards guarded 7’5” Taco Fall and didn’t look good in his time. Vernon Carey missed 2 threes. Grant Riller missed his only shot and first of his career as Chase Whitney cried over his Easter eggs. If there is a contributor (and there isn’t) in the rough, they did not have enough time to display it.
The Hornets have two days off to try out some combinations that might work as this team continues to cope with the lack of playmakers due to injury. They face the OKC Thunder on the road who have only one win in the past six games. OKC is looking to position themselves high in the draft lottery, so it may be a good game to experiment with some different looks, maybe including some of the young players like Nick Richards getting more than a handful of minutes at the tail end of the game.