BOSTON – The future is now for the Boston Celtics, and we saw a little glimpse of it Monday night.
For the first half of a 104-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Boston’s offense was lifeless. The starting lineup couldn’t buy a bucket, shooting a paltry 8-for-25 from the field before intermission. The second unit didn’t look much better, as Boston managed to score just a meager 36 points in the opening two frames, falling behind by 14.
As Kemba Walker (game-high 33 points) continued to add to Charlotte’s lead after halftime, Brad Stevens looked a little further down his bench than usual to find an offensive spark. In the third quarter, he got that spark with rookie swingman James Young.
Young didn’t score in a brief first half stint, but he made the most of his chance at extended minutes in the closing moments of the third quarter. The no. 17 overall pick scored all 13 of his points in 14 second half minutes, with three of his baskets coming from 3-point range. That sharpshooting helped the Celtics cut a 22-point deficit to six points midway throughout the fourth quarter, before the Hornets held on late.
Young had not seen NBA action since a December 5th blowout win against the Los Angeles Lakers and hadn’t seen meaningful playing time all season long, so hitting the court for 17 minutes was easily the highlight of the rookie’s season so far.
Will Young get an additional opportunity in the games ahead instead of spending time in the D-League with the Maine Red Claws? Stevens was not ready to commit after the game.
“I don’t know,” Stevens said of Young’s place in the rotation. “I’ve got to figure out how to coach this team better. I’m not doing a very good job. We’re not playing well and it’s not good basketball.”
With the Celtics dropping seven of their last eight games overall after Monday’s loss, it appears Stevens may have nothing to lose by turning to the future now.