Celtics-Hornets takeaways: Hauser catches fire from 3 in C's win

The Boston Celtics capped off their six-game road trip with a Monday night victory over the Charlotte Hornets

It was a competitive first half between two teams on the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings. After trailing throughout the first quarter, the C’s buckled down defensively in the second to take a six-point lead. They stayed on top for the remainder of the game, pulling away to earn a decisive 118-104 win.

With Jaylen Brown (hand injury) out, Jayson Tatum and Sam Hauser led the way with 25 points apiece. Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White added 20 and 19 points, respectively.

Miles Bridges (26 points) paced Charlotte in the scoring column. Ex-Celtic Grant Williams chipped in 23.

The Celtics (59-16) will return home to face the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder (52-22) in a potential NBA Finals preview on Wednesday night. First, here are three takeaways from Monday’s game.

Jayson Tatum’s dominance in Charlotte continues

For Tatum, there’s just something about playing in Charlotte. The Duke product has taken his game to another level over his last five appearances at Spectrum Center.

Tatum notched 41, 44, 33, 51, and 45 points in those games. He entered Monday averaging 41.5 points in his last six games against the Hornets.

Early on, it was clear he planned to continue the trend. Tatum tallied 16 of his 25 points in the first half, drilling three 3-pointers through the first two frames.

He put the exclamation point on another dominant outing with this thunderous jam in the third:

Tatum ended up with a double-double, bringing down 10 boards to go with his 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting (4-10 3PT). He also had four assists, two steals, and a block.

While this wasn’t quite the Tatum takeover we’ve seen in past Charlotte games, the Hornets again didn’t have much of an answer for the five-time All-Star. Plus, Tatum wasn’t asked to do as much in the second half with Hauser and Porzingis helping out offensively.

Tatum will have a chance to torch the Hornets again in the penultimate game of the regular season on April 12.

Sam Hauser emphatically snaps shooting slump

Hauser entered Monday shooting an uncharacteristic 6-for-19 (31.5 percent) from beyond the arc over his last three games, including a 2-for-10 performance in Atlanta. It’s safe to say that mini slump is over.

The Celtics sharpshooter drilled his first two 3-pointers of the night and he was only getting warmed up. He caught fire in the second half and finished 7-for-11 from deep (9-for-13 overall).

Hauser tied Tatum for a team-high 25 points in just 24 minutes.

The 26-year-old had a brief cold streak, but he’s mostly been lights out for Boston this season. His best performances have come over the last month including a 6-for-10 3-point shooting night in Portland, a historic 10-for-13 game at Washington, and an 8-for-9 showing in Chicago.

Hauser now has 10 games with at least five made 3s off the bench That matches Payton Prichard for the most in Celtics history.

Grant Williams finds success against former team

Tatum and the C’s faced off against old friend Grant Williams, who was sent to Charlotte by the Dallas Mavericks before this year’s NBA trade deadline.

Against his former team, Williams enjoyed one of his best performances of the season. The 25-year-old formerly known as “Batman” put up 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting (2-4 3-PT), his highest scoring output since Feb. 22 when he dropped 24 in Utah.

Williams added seven rebounds and two assists as Charlotte’s starting center. While he didn’t leave with a win against his ex-teammates, he can take pride in a rock-solid all-around performance.


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