CHARLOTTE — The Celtics finished their shortened preseason 4-0 with a 108-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday, as the club played their regulars extensive minutes in preparation for Tuesday’s season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Marcus Morris made his Celtics debut and scored 7 points in 11 minutes as the team made a concerted effort to integrate him into the offense as a stretch-4. On one sequence, the Celtics ran a frantic fastbreak with Morris trailing, and he took in a pass for an open 3-pointer that he drained.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he wanted to give his main rotation players considerable time after Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford all got the night off Monday against Philadelphia. Irving finished with 16 points and 10 assists in 27 minutes and was 8 for 13 from the 3-point line during the preseason.
Stevens has yet to commit to a starting lineup and used rookie Jayson Tatum to join Irving, Horford, Hayward, and Jaylen Brown. Tatum finished with 8 points in 23 minutes. He was 13-for-35 shooting in the four preseason games.
The Celtics led most of the final three quarters until the Hornets reserves rallied to tie against their Boston counterparts. Shane Larkin, fighting for a job as the third point guard, sealed the game with a pair of 3-point plays. Boston shot 50.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line (16 for 32). Hayward and Horford each hit three 3-pointers.
“I thought our first group played pretty well,” Stevens said. “There were some things we need to do better but we had some real moments. We had a couple of things we needed to improve on from the first time we played [the Hornets] and in some circumstances I think we showed that. It was something to move forward and it becomes real Tuesday.”
The team will take Thursday off and then practice Friday and Saturday in preparation for Cleveland. The Celtics also will have to pare their roster to the mandatory 15 by Monday.Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.