The Boston Celtics own the best record in the NBA. Now, they seem to be unleashing even more productive resources.
Malcolm Brogdon has turned out to be a fine addition to the roster this season.
He could be pressed into more extensive duty when the Celtics take on the Hornets on Monday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.
“I think that’s what makes our team so special,” Boston standout Jayson Tatum said. “We’ve got guys like that who are sacrificing.”
This will be a rematch of Boston’s 122-106 victory on the same court Saturday night. The Celtics have won six in a row, with Tatum leading the team in scoring in five of those games.
Yet without Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ backcourt barely missed a beat. That’s because Brogdon poured in a season-high 30 points. That was the most points allowed by Charlotte to a player coming off the bench this season.
“He’s a guy that’s adjusting to playing on our team,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. “I’m really happy for him.”
Brogdon is in his first season with the Celtics, but the veteran guard has made quite an impact. He made 11 of 17 shots from the field on Saturday night.
“I was really trying to go in the flow of the game,” he said. “I knew that I would have to take more shots. I purposely was not trying to force. I was just trying to get good shots and play in the rhythm of the offense.”
Across the last seven games, he has averaged 18.9 points per game while shooting 56.3 percent on 3-pointers.
“This team’s depth, man, we’ve got a lot of good players on this team,” Brogdon said. “It’s a next-man-up mentality when someone goes down. I think that’s what we’ve been experiencing.”
Boston’s Derrick White left Saturday night’s game with a sprained neck, so the Celtics could be in a more of a lineup bind with their backcourt for the rematch. White collided with teammate Marcus Smart.
“He’s OK,” Mazzulla said. “I talked to him in the locker room. He’s doing better.”
But that still leaves White’s status unclear for Monday.
The Hornets are on a four-game losing streak, with the last three of those defeats coming by double-figure margins. After Monday, they have their next four games on the road.
Charlotte held a 16-point first-half lead Saturday night before fading.
“We struggled to guard them,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “We were up because we were scoring at a really high clip, which is going to be hard to do against them for the whole game. We were never able to guard them for any sustained period of time.”
In the last two games with Charlotte, the Celtics have launched a total of 105 3-point shots (52 on Nov. 28 and 53 on Saturday).
“They can score in bunches,” Clifford said. “There’s a reason they’re top-eight in both offense and defense. You can’t have a bad 3 1/2 (or) 4 minutes. That makes it hard.”
This will be the second time this season that the Celtics have played the same team in consecutive games. They lost both matchups with Orlando in mid-December at home. That turned into a three-game losing streak before Boston won 10 of its next 12.
–Field Level Media