Hornets Fade Down the Stretch to Celtics

Boston Holds Off 2nd-Half Comeback for 6th-Straight Win Over Hornets

By Sam Perley, hornets.com

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A sluggish first quarter set the tone for the Hornets as their late rally wasn’t enough to avoid a 102-91 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Dec. 27 in Charlotte. Kemba Walker led the way for the home team with a game-high 24 points, but Boston’s 15 three-pointers helped seal a sixth-consecutive win over the Hornets and their 10th victory in the last 11 meetings between the two sides.

Turning Point

After the Hornets rallied to cut a 20-point, second-quarter deficit down to just one entering the fourth, their offense went ice cold with a 6-of-22 conversion rate in the final 12 minutes (27.3 percent). The Celtics outscored Charlotte, 26-16, in the frame, which included a team-high 10 points from rookie Jayson Tatum as they notched a victory in their lone trip to Spectrum Center this season.

Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Kemba Walker gear here)

Kemba Walker racked up a game-high 24 points on 9-of-22 shooting and a team-high five assists in the loss. This is Walker’s 15th game of the season with at least 20 points and five assists, which is currently tied for the seventh-most such performances by any player in the 2017-18 NBA campaign.

Celtics Player of the Game

Al Horford finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting (4-of-6 from three-point range) and a team-high 11 rebounds in the victory. This is Horford’s first game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since signing with the Celtics two summers ago.

Game Notes

Dwight Howard totaled 12 points, a game-high 17 rebounds and two blocks… Marvin Williams chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also added 13 points and four boards, moving him past Kenny Gattison for eighth place on the franchise’s all-time career rebounding leaderboard (1,945)… Nicolas Batum had seven points, three rebounds, three assists and a season-high four steals… Boston shot 15-of-34 from three-point range (44.1 percent), while the Hornets went just 7-of-23 from distance (30.4 percent)… The Hornets won the rebounding battle, 52-43, which included a season-high 19 offensive boards… Boston was perfect from the charity stripe (13-of-13) compared to Charlotte, which went 20-of-29 from the free-throw line (69.0 percent).

Quote of the Night

“I was definitely proud of the way we fought back. I talked to the guys in the locker room after the game about waiting too long and waiting until we get down to actually start playing the way we know how to play. I thought we did that tonight. We did that in the last game and we won it, but that’s something we don’t want to continue because that’s not a good formula for consistent play.” – Hornets Associate Head Coach Stephen Silas

Next Up

The Hornets will kick off a four-game road trip against the Golden State Warriors starting at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29 in Oakland, CA. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.