A team cannot stage a comeback when it allows the opposition to have extra possessions. The Celtics learned that the hard way Monday night.
Boston, attempting to make a comeback from a 22-point deficit, pulled to within six after James Young canned a 3-pointer with 5:27 left in the game. Momentum was building, and this comeback seemed realistic.
Charlotte’s next two possessions changed that outlook.
The Celtics forced Gary Neal into a missed jumper with five minutes left on the clock. A defensive rebound would have given them an opportunity to take another slice out of Charlotte’s lead, but that rebound never happened.
Marvin Williams grabbed the loose ball to give the Hornets another possession. Just 13 seconds later, he drove the ball to the basket and scored an and-one layup to put his team back on top by nine points.
James Young responded with a jumper for the Celtics before the host team made another critical mistake. Williams clanked a 3-pointer on Charlotte’s next possession, but Gerald Henderson snuck in to grab an offensive rebound at the free-throw line. He immediately tossed a pass to Neal, who drained a 3-pointer from the corner.
Neal’s trey provided Charlotte with a 10-point advantage with 4:02 remaining. There was still plenty of time left for a comeback, but all of Boston’s momentum had been sapped thanks to those offensive rebounds.
The Celtics knew they were going to have their hands full while facing off against former UConn star Kemba Walker Monday night. That knowledge didn’t provide them with any relief.
Walker was outstanding during Charlotte’s 104-95 win over Boston. He notched his second consecutive 30-point game, this time dropping 33 on the C’s. Walker shot 12-of-26 from the field and had multiple highlight reel plays.
The points are what pop off of Walker’s box score line, but he provided the Hornets with a punch in other categories as well. The speedy point guard snuck in to grab five rebounds and also dished out five assists. Those five helpers were more than any player on Boston’s roster totaled in the game.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three players in the game notched at least 20 points.
- The Hornets outrebounded the Celtics by a count of 48-33.
- Boston shot just 39.6 percent from the field.
- Charlotte shot 22-of-23 from the free-throw line (95.7 percent).
- Kemba Walker notched a game-high 33 points.
- Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 22 points and eight rebounds.
- Boston's scoring increased in each of the four quarters.
- Both teams scored 40 points in the paint and 22 second-chance points.
- Cody Zeller scored 20 points and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field.
- Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and Brandon Bass tied for the Celtics team high in assists with four apiece.
- Both teams totaled 22 assists in the game.
- Boston committed just six turnovers.
- Gerald Henderson's eight assists led the game.
- James Young and Jae Crowder each scored 13 points off the bench for Boston.
- Young accounted for three of the Celtics' seven made 3-pointers.
Quote of the Night
I've got to figure out how to coach this team better. I'm not doing a very good job. That's on me.
Brad Stevens on how the Celtics are playing right now.