11/28 22:07 CST Smart dishes 15, scores 22, Celtics crush Hornets 140-105
Smart dishes 15, scores 22, Celtics crush Hornets 140-105
By JIMMY GOLEN
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) --- The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year showed he can do
it on offense, too.
Celtics point guard Marcus Smart had a career-high 15 assists on Monday night,
adding 22 points to help Boston beat the Charlotte Hornets 140-105 and give the
defending Eastern Conference champions their 13th win in 14 games.
"He's always brought it defensively," Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla said.
"I have full trust in him diagnosing where the matchup is, where the advantage
is, and what can we do to exploit that. And he's doing a great job anticipating
that once he gets the ball."
Smart said he was seeing the court so well, it was like he had X-ray vision.
"You kind of zone out, and it's just you out there throwing practice passes.
Finding guys in the right spot at the right time," he said. "Once you're locked
into that, guys ... start making plays to get them the ball, and make it even
easier for you."
Jayson Tatum scored 35 to help the Celtics jump to a 27-point, first-quarter
lead. Malcolm Brogdon had 21 points, Derrick White scored 15 and Blake Griffin
scored a season-high nine points for Boston.
Tatum, Smart and Brogdon all sat out the fourth quarter. It was the ninth
straight win at home for the Celtics, who have the best record in the NBA.
"This is a treat. For any NBA player, it's a treat playing on an NBA team like
this," said Brogdon, who won two playoff series in his first six years in the
league. "For me and Blake, we've been in situations where a team is not
winning, where the team is really struggling and there's chaos. So definitely I
try to encourage the guys to be appreciative of what they have here."
Jalen McDaniels scored 24 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 22 for the Hornets,
who lost for the 12th time in 15 games.
The Celtics put this one away in the first quarter.
It was 19-12 when Boston scored 24 of the next 28 points, hitting six straight
3-pointers to pull ahead. Tatum had 16 points in the quarter, Smart had 10
points and eight assists and Brogdon scored 10. Boston shot 73% from the field,
making 10 of 15 from 3-point range.
Charlotte missed all six 3-point attempts in the quarter.
Jaylen Brown missed the game with neck stiffness. He scored 36 points in
Sunday's game against the Wizards, which Tatum missed with a sprained left
Al Horford (lower back stiffness) also missed the game, the second of a
Hornets: Charlotte was without ex-Celtics Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier.
Celtics: Led by as many as 27 less than 10 minutes into the game. It tied for
their second-biggest lead of the season. ... Griffin made his third start of
Hornets: Host Washington on Friday.
Celtics: Host the Heat on Wednesday night in the first of two games against
Miami in Boston in three days.
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