Things change quickly in the NBA. It was not too long ago the Boston Celtics were riding high, winning nine of 11 games and looking like the potential title contenders many previously pegged them to be. However, following a blowout loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, the Cs have suddenly dropped three of their last four games, as they slowly begin to trickle back down the Eastern Conference rankings.
Going into the Barclays Center on Friday severely undermanned and losing by five points to the Brooklyn Nets was a pill many fans were willing to swallow. Yet, taking a 21-point beatdown at the hands of the Hornets despite being nearly at full strength (minus Robert Williams) — well that’s a little tougher to keep down.
Following the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens made no qualms about both his and his players’ efforts.
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Stevens Sounds Off After Hornets Loss
“We got outplayed, out-coached, out-hustled,” Stevens told reporters, via NBC Sports Boston. “They were the better team today. I thought their speed gave us fits and they really pushed the ball. And when they got into halfcourt, they kept it flying around, I thought we were slow to move it and they were fast to move it.”
“And I thought — I said this to the team at halftime — we were guarding them like we were expecting to play against ourselves, like we were going to hold it for an extra dribble,” he added. “Give them a lot of credit today. They clearly set the tone. They were clearly the better team. Like I said, we got outplayed and outcoached.”
The loss for Boston drops them to 33-29 on the season, sliding them into a tie with the Miami Heat for sixth-place in the East.
Stevens Speaks Glowingly of Charlotte; Jaylen Brown Looking Ahead
Stevens was quick to give the Hornets their roses following the game. Yet, his praise towards the Celtics’ counterpart started long before the end of regulation. Stevens was highlighted on the telecast tipping the cap to the Hornets while talking to his players mid-game.
“The way they’ve played all year, they’ve been unbelievable here,” Stevens said of the Hornets. “I mean, they’re playing so fast right now.”
Charlotte came out firing on all cylinders on Sunday and rarely took their foot off the gas from that point on. They finished the game 21-for-43 (48.8%) from beyond the arc as four different Hornets players knocked down at least four 3-point attempts. Furthermore, they accounted for 40 assists — the most against the Celtics since the Sacramento Kings notched 42 assists in a game back in 1996.
“I think the last few weeks, we have played extremely well, and maybe this game is being held to our past because we’ve been up and down in the past,” Jaylen Brown said. “I’m always looking towards the future and I think the Hornets played extremely well tonight. But I don’t see them getting 40 assists next game. But we’ll see them in a couple of games, so we’ll see.”