Celtics' streak snapped after 90-78 loss to Hornets


Celtics' streak snapped after 90-78 loss to Hornets

BOSTON Austin Rivers did not have a particularly good game against his father and the Boston Celtics.
But like his dad, the younger Rivers was more concerned about his team getting the victory.
And that they did, as the New Orleans Hornets pulled ahead in the second quarter and pulled away in the third for a 90-78 win.
Boston (20-18) had its moments in the third and fourth quarters to put the pressure on New Orleans, but those moments often resulted in turnovers and missed shots which ultimately added up to a missed opportunity for victory as the C's season-long winning streak is snapped at six games.
For New Orleans, it was the yet another solid performance for a team that's showing they can win with and without their best players.
Hornets coach Monty Williams announced before the game that top-scorer Eric Gordon would not play because Wednesday's game.
Gordon had offseason knee surgery and the Hornets have not allowed him to play in back-to-back games.
His absence had little impact on the game other than create a great chance for Austin Rivers to see action.
Rivers averages about 25 minutes per game this season, but came into Wednesday's game having played a total of 14 minutes in the previous three games.
Against the C's, he played 14 minutes in the first half and finished with eight points while playing 22 minutes.
New Orleans continued to pull away in the third quarter by doing one thing and one thing only - playing harder.
They were more aggressive going to the basket, which was evident in the Hornets having a 24-12 advantage in points in the paint. They collapsed on C's shooters with greater force which resulted in the C's shooting less than 40 percent in the second half after connecting on 51 percent of their shots in the first half.
New Orleans dictated the game's tempo and pushed it to a level that the Celtics were never able to match.
In the end, the C's spent far too much time looking to score from the perimeter instead of attacking the rim. And that made an already improved defensive effort by the Hornets, even better.

Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls


Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls

BOSTON – Change is an inevitable when it comes to NBA rosters.

Just as the Boston Celtics significantly altered the outlook many had for them this season by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, they face a Chicago Bulls team tonight that has also undergone significant change.

The Bulls traded away one favorite son (Derrick Rose) and went about adding another in Dwyane Wade.

In addition to Wade, Chicago also signed former Celtic All-Star Rajon Rondo to join a team headlined by All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

As easy as it could have been to worry about the struggles they had in disposing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Celtics knew they had to immediately turn the page and shift their focus towards a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to start its season with a quality win over the Celtics.

“They’re a good team. They have great players over there,” said Jae Crowder. “They’re trying to figure it out. They’re going to be very excited to play of course. We have to take care of business, play the way we want to play and impose our will even more.”

One of the keys to knocking off the Bulls will be to get better play from their second unit.

Boston’s backups were outscored 58-40 but more significant than that was their inability to hold off the late-charging Nets which forced head coach Brad Stevens to bring his starters back on to the floor with about two minutes to play.

Among the reasons contributing to the bench’s ineffective play on Wednesday was the fact that Marcus Smart (left ankle sprain) was out.

Remember, Smart has been with the second unit for all of training camp minus the second half of their 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks.

Crowder believes not having Smart, who will be out for another week or so, was indeed a factor in the second unit’s struggles.

“They trying to figure it out on the fly,” Crowder said. “With a few days of practice and probably one tough day of practice without him. It’s tough but they’re figuring it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in a game. They’ll figure it out as soon as possible.”