Celtics

Five takeaways from the Celtics’ 107-106 preseason win over the Hornets

(Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

A mix of analysis and observations after the Celtics opened up their preseason with a 107-106 win over the Hornets. 

Jayson Tatum is living up to his word when it comes to shot selection

A lot of the Celtics’ future falls on the third-year forward in the wake of Kyrie Irving’s departure. The addition of Kemba Walker (12 points, 4 assists in a ordinary Boston debut) will provide some of the firepower that Irving left behind but it will be on Tatum to take a big next step in his game if the C’s hope to reach title contention again in the foreseeable future with this core. A lot of that progress begins with Tatum’s offense and shot selection. He needs to be smarter with his attempts (3s and layups instead of midrange) and he was open about that in the first week of training camp. That talk held up in the preseason opener as he scored an efficient 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. The more encouraging part of his night? Where on the floor those shots were coming from, with 12 of 14 coming from beyond the arc or in the paint.

“Without looking at stat sheets and everything else, I think he did a really good job,” Brad Stevens said. “I thought he attacked when it was appropriate to attack. I thought he shot the 3 without hesitance, which is really important. He is—the 3 will open up his drives, open up his opportunity at the rim, and opens up his opportunity to go to the foul line. That’s the one thing we told him today when we met. You’ve got to throw all the narratives out about getting to the foul line and shooting 3s and just make the right play, because if you do that, everything else takes care of itself. When you’re open, shoot it. When you’re not, drive it.”

The Celtics offense wasn’t a problem with the regulars until the start of the third quarter but Tatum did his job in showing off a matured offensive mindset. No more unnecessary 1-on-1 midrange isolation ball was in the cards tonight and the Celtics’ offense was better for it.

The Celtics’ defense has A LOT of work to do

Danny Ainge hinted at a lot of question marks about the