Jae Crowder was the lone member of the starting unit who played in this one. He started at the power forward position in a small-ball lineup that included Tyler Zeller at center, rookie Jaylen Brown at small forward, Marcus Smart at the point and Gerald Green -- who made his preseason debut.
Isaiah Thomas (left wrist), Avery Bradley, Al Horford and Amir Johnson all sat out as their younger teammates took care of business against Charlotte.
Both teams got off to a sloppy start and finished the game's first 12 minutes tied at 18. Although the Celtics forced five turnovers in the first quarter -- including four in the opening minutes -- they struggled in transition on offense and committed six turnovers.
Making matters worse, Rozier (4 points, 2 rebounds) left the game early in the second quarter when he was elbowed in the face while attempting to take a charge against Hornets center Christian Wood. He received seven stitches and never returned.
The Celtics' offense found its rhythm against the Hornets in the second quarter as they took a 49-38 lead into halftime. Zeller scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half -- he finished 5-of-7 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He did a stellar job of knocking down open mid-range jump shots and finishing strong in the paint.
In his first game as an NBA starter, Brown was ice cold on offense -- he shot 20 percent on 2-of-10 shots and finished with four points in 27 minutes. Green -- who didn't shy away from taking jumpers from the perimeter -- had a strong first-performance. He finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shots.
The Celtics kept their foot on the gas petal in the second half -- where they took a 82-64 lead into the final frame. Jordan Mickey caught fire for the C's in the second half -- he scored a game-high 16 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. And R.J. Hunter chipped in 10 points and five assists.
The C's defense was certainly the story of the night. They forced the Hornets to take tough shots, locked down the perimeter -- where Charlotte shot 1-of-19 (5.3 percent) from behind the arc -- and forced 20 turnovers.
Although the Hornets managed to out-rebound the Celtics, 50-35, the C's sparked a second-half blowout as they shot 44.4 percent from the floor and held onto the lead in the final 12 minutes.