Gonzalez knows what Crawford is going through

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Gonzalez knows what Crawford is going through

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Adrian Gonzalez knows exactly what Carl Crawford is going through.

A year ago, it was Gonzalez who was trying to rehab from off-season surgery and get himself ready for Opening Day. This year, it's Crawford's turn.

Gonzalez had more major surgery (shoulder), but he also had the advantage of having the procedure performed in October, with almost five months to go before the start of the regular season.

For Crawford, time is of the essence. He had his left wrist surgically repaired in mid-January, then suffered a setback of sorts earlier this week.

Still, Gonzalez's message remains the same.

"The main focus should always be that when you come back," said Gonzalez, "you're come back to play every day. You're not coming back to have setbacks. The only advice I ever give CC, when I talk to him here, is to make sure you come back 100 percent. You're going to have setbacks -- that's normal. Nobody goes through a pain-free, zero-swelling, zero-inflammation rehab because you're pushing yourself.

"You're going to have setbacks. It's going to happen. From the get-go, I heard it was going to be 50-50 whether he was going to be able to start (the season on time). Personally, I want him to be 100 percent when he steps on the field. I don't know when that is. I'm not on the training staff. But when he gets on the field, he should be 100 percent.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez, who felt some weakness in the second half of the season which affected his power, said it's much improved after a full winter to strenghen it.

"It feels great, it's 100 percent,'' said Gonzalez. "I'm able to get that high finish at the plate and I'm happy about that.''

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.