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The Celtics fell to the Hornets on Wednesday 111-102. The defeat drops them to 23-23; Boston is ninth in the East.

Charlotte outplayed Boston in seemingly every aspect of the game, and the home team shot just 43.3 percent from the field, including 14/46 from beyond the arc. Despite their struggles, the Celtics cut their deficit to six points on multiple occasions in the game's final stages.

Doing so without Marcus Smart and Robert Williams while facing one of the NBA's top offenses, a team that ranks in the top five in numerous categories on that side of the ball -- including points, assists, and offensive rating -- highlights how impactful adding another meaningful piece could be. Making a move of that nature will likely have to wait until the offseason, though.

Now, without further ado, here's what stood out from the Celtics' loss to the Hornets on Wednesday.

The Celtics Really Missed Marcus Smart and Robert Williams

From LaMelo Ball fueling the Hornets' transition attack to the damage he inflicted distributing in the half-court, the Celtics sorely missed having Marcus Smart and his ability to challenge the NBA's best perimeter players by taking away their air space.

Ball registered a triple-double with 15 points, ten assists, and ten rebounds, and while he did have eight turnovers, he slung the ball all over the court, consistently creating quality shots for his teammates.

In the front-court, Boston badly missed Robert Williams. The Hornets grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, eight of which came in the second half, and they had 18 second-chance points in their nine-point win. There was also the issue of Miles Bridges scoring 12 of his 22 points in the paint.

Dennis Schroder Did His Best to Keep the Celtics in the Game

On a night where Boston shot 43.3 percent from the field, including 14/16 (30.4 percent) from beyond the arc, Dennis Schroder picked up the slack with a 24-point performance. That came on an efficient 9/16 shooting (56.3 percent) from the floor, and he knocked down five of his eight threes (62.5 percent).

Outside of Friday's loss to the Sixers, a game where the entire starting unit struggled, Schroder's played well of late.

Hornets Get a Boost from Their Second Unit

The Hornets' second unit was impactful from the moment James Borrego integrated members of that group into the game until the final whistle.

At the end of the first half, Charlotte's bench outscored Boston's 23-12, with Kelly Oubre and Jalen McDaniels contributing 10 points apiece.

Oubre, in particular, was a problem, scoring against Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and anyone else who tried to contain him. He finished with 18 points on 7/14 shooting, including 3/7 from beyond the arc, pacing a Hornets second unit that outscored Boston's 35-26.

Freedom-Horford Start Second Half

Ime Udoka opted to start the third quarter with more size on the floor, pairing Al Horford with Enes Freedom instead of Grant Williams.

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Udoka stuck with that duo for barely over four minutes, subbing Horford for Williams at the 7:56 mark. It wasn't a particularly inspiring performance, and the Celtics shouldn't frequently utilize that combination, but they only got outscored by two points in their time on the court together.

Jayson Tatum Remains Ice Cold from Beyond the Arc

Jayson Tatum entered Wednesday's game shooting just 32.3 percent from beyond the arc, and that figure took a hit with his long-range performance in this loss. Despite quite a few open looks from three, the All-Star wing went 0/7 on threes.

He shot 5/19 from the field and put only 12 points on the board. Tatum's plenty capable of offsetting that by attacking the basket, but he didn't do so in this game, something reflected by him only taking three free throws.

Terry Rozier Torches Former Team

Terry Rozier came back to Boston and gave the Celtics the business. He delivered a game-high 28 points on 10/18 shooting, including 6/11 from beyond the arc. One of those was a side-step three with Jayson Tatum draped on him. That shot put Charlotte up by nine points with 54.8 seconds left, and it proved to be the dagger.

Rozier also dished out ten assists, grabbed four rebounds, and earned a game-high plus-minus rating of +14.

Up Next

The Celtics host the Trail Blazers on Friday night at 7:30. Inside The Celtics will have content related to the game coming out before, during, and after. And follow @BobbyKrivitsky on Twitter for updates and analysis from pregame to post.

Further Reading

Celtics Reportedly Exploring Trading Al Horford

Celtics Trade Juancho Hernangomez, Acquire PJ Dozier and Bol Bol in Three-Team Deal; is it a Precursor to a Larger Deal?

Report Links Celtics to Jerami Grant

What Stood Out in Celtics' Win vs. Pelicans: A Tale of Two Halves

Film Room: Celtics' Ball Movement at Its Best in Win vs. Bulls

Should Jaylen Brown be the Celtics' Closer?

Trade Options for a Celtics Team in Need of Shooters

Celtics' Trade Options Part II: Facilitators