The Boston Celtics seem to be in a bind again after a puzzling result.
They will look to put the pieces together on Wednesday night against the visiting Charlotte Hornets.
That's approximately 24 hours after the Celtics dropped a 119-115 decision to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who arrived in Boston on a 14-game losing streak.
Now the Hornets hope for similar success in Boston.
The Charlotte-Boston game is a rematch from Sunday's contest in Charlotte, N.C. The Hornets recorded a 125-104 victory in that game.
The Hornets (30-31) are pumped to play games that have a huge impact in the Eastern Conference pecking order.
"We put ourselves in a wonderful position here as a young group," Charlotte coach James Borrego said. "To get this experience, to play meaningful games against top-level teams, there's no greater teacher than this right now. It's everybody learning on the fly, learning together."
Boston (32-30) has lost three games in a row, however coach Brad Stevens said he'd rather look forward.
"I'm going to get ready for (Wednesday's) game," Stevens said. "That's what we have to do. I'm not going to beat up the group that was out there. We should have played better."
The Hornets clicked in many ways Sunday against Boston.
"I saw a very competitive group," Borrego said of the key for the Hornets in that outcome.
The Hornets had won two games in a row before dropping a 114-104 decision to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Still, matchups of this nature only give more fuel for the Hornets.
"This is a great, wonderful time for us," Borrego said. "Now it's about taking advantage of the opportunity in front of us. This is just a taste of it."
The visit to Boston marks the third game in four days for the injury-riddled Hornets.
"We'll figure it out as we go," Borrego said.
In many ways, the Hornets aren't strong enough in the post to consistently contend with teams that thrive on interior scoring. A collective approach worked well in the most recent game against Boston.
"We were very active in the paint," Borrego said. "We didn't give up a whole lot on the glass last game (versus Boston). ... We found ways to dig it out defensively."
Boston received 39 points from Jaylen Brown in the setback to Oklahoma City.
The Celtics took 49 of their 97 shots from the field from 3-point range. They made just 11 from beyond the arc.
"There were some that were certainly forced, there's no question about it," Stevens said. "There were some that were just missed."
The Celtics have 10 games remaining in the regular season.
"To try to play as well as we can." Stevens said of the objective.
The Hornets are still without guards LaMelo Ball (wrist) and Malik Monk (ankle) as well as forward Gordon Hayward (foot). At least Ball and Monk could be close to returning, but that won't likely come until at least later in the week.
"Hopefully, Thursday (with a workout) will give us a better sense of where these guys are at," Borrego said.
--Field Level Media
FROM THE ARCHIVES