at Charlotte Hornets (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)
Monday, October 2, 2017
7:30 PM ET
Preseason Game #1 Home Game #1
TV: NBA-TV, CSNNE
TD GardenPossible Starters
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron BaynesCeltics Reserves
Guerschon YabuselePlayers Out
Marcus Morris (trial) out Possible Starters
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Nicolas Batum
SF: Michael Kidd Gilchrist
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Dwight HowardProbable Reserves
Cody ZellerPlayers Out
Dwight Howard (back) day to day
Malik Monk (ankle) day to day
Michael Carter Williams (knee) out
Julyan Stone (groin) questionable
Treveon Graham (hamstring) doubtful Head Coach
Steve Clifford Game Notes
Finally Celtics basketball is back at the TD Garden. The new look Celtics will host the Charlotte Hornets in their first preseason game. The Hornets added Dwight Howard in the off season but return 4 of their starters from last season. Coach Steve Clifford worked with Howard in Orlando and in Los Angeles and is excited to be reunited with him once again.
Last season, Charlotte had a solid starting five but their bench was weak. Moving Cody Zeller to the bench with Howard taking over the starting spot should strengthen the bench somewhat. They also added former rookie of the year, Michael Carter Williams, from the Bulls who will also strengthen their bench, along the 11th pick in the draft, Malik Monk.
The Celtics starting five is still up in the air. Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford are definites for the starting lineup, but the other two spots are not set as yet. Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart are thought to be in the lead to replace Avery Bradley at shooting guard. Marcus Morris is thought to have the inside track at the power forward with Al Horford moving to center but with Morris out, it's possible that Al will play the 4 and Baynes will start at the 5.
The Hornets will probably start Kemba Walker at point guard in his 7th season with the Hornets. Nicolas Batum, in his 3rd season with the Hornets, will likely once again start at shooting guard. Michael Kidd Gilchrist in his 5th season with the Hornets may start at small forward. Marvin Williams in his third season with the Hornets will likely return at power forward. That should give the team some continuity and chemistry that the Celtics, with just 4 players returning, may not have. Dwight Howard will round out the starting five at center.
Marcus Morris will likely miss this game as his assault trial with his brother is still going on. Hopefully he will be able to join the team before the preseason is over. The Hornets are already dealing with several injuries. Dwight Howard (back) and Malik Monk (ankle) are day to day. Michael Carter Williams (knee) is out. Treveon Graham (hamstring) is doubtful.Key Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Kemba Walker
Kyrie Irving will get his first taste of running the point for the Celtics against another very good point guard, Kemba Walker. Kemba should have an advantage in this game since his team, for the most part, has played together for a few years and are familiar with the coach’s system. Kyrie will be getting used to a new system along with all new teammates.
Gordon Hayward gets his first test as a Celtic as he faces former rookie of the year, Michael Kidd Gilchrist in his 5th season with the Hornets. Even though the Celtics are trying to find their chemistry and their identity, hopefully Hayward will shine in this one and win this matchup. It will be important for the Celtics stars to get acclimated quickly and play well.
Keys to the Game:Defense Defense Defense!!
Defense is the key to winning every game, whether the preseason or the regular season or the playoffs. The Celtics lost both Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder who were both at the heart of the defense. Other players must step up and commit to playing tough defense if the Celtics expect to be contenders. Chemistry
- The Celtics for the most part are all new to each other while the Hornets for the most part have played together for a few years. Is it possible to build chemistry quickly? Yes, but we need to be patient with the Celtics if they miss a few cues and don’t have perfect chemistry in the first preseason game. Rebound
- The Celtics struggled with rebounding last season and hopefully this team will be better at crashing the boards. The Hornets have some good rebounders, especially Howard, and so this will be a good test of the Celtics’ rebounding ability.