Keys to the Game: Celtics 94, Hornets 82

Key Moment

Brad Stevens chose to rest his three top stars – Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford – for the entirety of the second half of Monday’s exhibition opener against Charlotte.

One would have thought that the Hornets, who trailed 47-43 at halftime, would have pulled off a comeback win as a result. Instead, Boston’s young and inexperienced bench built upon that lead as the C’s snagged a 94-82 win.

Daniel Theis, Abdel Nader and Shane Larkin, all of whom did not play during the first 31-plus minutes of the contest, combined to tally 26 points, 11 rebounds and five assists over the final 17 minutes of the game. Boston actually trailed by three points, at 59-56, shortly after Larkin, the first of the trio to check into the game, replaced Brown with 4:34 left in the third quarter.

Larkin then scored four straight points to push Boston back in front by one point, and then Theis and Nader went to work.

They combined to score Boston’s final eight points of the quarter, and 13 of the team’s next 15 points overall, to provide the C’s with their largest lead of the game to that point, at 77-65. Boston never looked back from there.

Theis excited the crowd by scoring a team-high 12 points durinng less than 14 minutes of action. He made five of his eight shots and also tallied seven rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. Nader, meanwhile, added in 10 points of his own, while Larkin chipped in four.

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