East Notes: Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Hawks, Hornets

Celtics

The Celtics (20-5) have won seven of eight, and courtesy of Monday’s road win over the Raptors, became the first team this season to 20.

This without injured starting center Robert Williams III, and following all the preseason drama involving suspended coach Ime Udoka.

“Twenty and five, that’s big,” guard/forward Jayson Tatum told reporters. “That’s kind of how we wanted to start the season.”

Along with that, the Celtics are 5-0 on the second night of back-to-backs.

“You have to play the back-to-backs. You can’t run from them,” acting head coach Joe Mazzulla said. “Just have the right mindset.”

Hawks

  • The Hawks have blown six double-digit leads this season, entering Monday tied for second in the NBA in that category. Their sixth came Monday in a home loss to the Thunder.
  • In case you missed it, Hawks guard Trae Young said his tense exchange with coach Nate McMillan was overblown. We have that full story here.
  • Longtime Hawks TV play-by-play man Bob Rathburn briefly lost consciousness on the court prior to the game. He was treated for dehydration, listed as stable, and taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

Hornets

Coach Steve Clifford said the Hornets have to stay aggressive despite their many injury issues.

“The nights where we’re physical, we’re fine. The nights where we’re not physical, it doesn’t work,” Clifford said, via Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “We’ve got to hit people.”

  • Many around the league are wondering if the Hornets (7-17) will ever be able to recover from their injury-prone start. Point guard LaMelo Ball has missed 21 of 24 games with a high-ankle sprain, his absence of course being viewed as the largest setback.
  • But there’s more. Small forward Gordon Hayward has missed 13 games with shoulder injuries, forward Cody Martin has missed 23 with a knee injury, and suddenly productive point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been out 10 with a sprained ankle.

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