More Coverage: Game Gallery
One week ago, the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time in over five years. Seven days later, they snapped another lengthy skid by knocking off the Boston Celtics, 111-102, on Wednesday night for their first win at TD Garden in 10 attempts.
Terry Rozier was the man of the night against his former team, finishing with a game-high 28 points on 6-of-11 shooting from three and a season-high 10 assists for his first double-double of the campaign. This performance also included his 500th career 3-pointer in the purple and teal, making him the fifth player in franchise history to reach this milestone.
A 15-5 run to close the second quarter gave the Hornets a 56-48 halftime lead. They then pushed the advantage to 14 in the third, but the Celtics got to within six with 2:49 left on the game clock. LaMelo Ball and Rozier canned consecutive 3-pointers after a Jaylen Brown loose-ball foul to double Charlotte’s lead before Dennis Schröder erased their efforts with two 3-pointers sandwiched around a Hornets’ turnover. With a chance to finally put the Celtics away, Rozier buried a dagger from behind the arc with just under a minute left.
“The standard is the standard,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “Nothing tricky here. We didn’t talk about any winning streaks, losing streaks. Play with great aggression, be the aggressors out there, defend, share the ball, play together. That was the message. I thought the competitiveness was there and resiliency as well in that fourth quarter. They were going to make a run, they made some shots, but we stuck together, held the fort. The guys were fantastic in the timeouts. We came out, executed a few times. I’m really proud of their effort.”
Added Rozier, “To beat a team like Boston, this is a winning program, a team that has a lot of great players. To come in here and get a win, we wanted to make a statement. We’re trying to get to where [Boston] is at as an organization. It just feels good to win. To do it for the world to watch and let them know how serious we are, we just want to keep going. We’re not satisfied. We’re going to stay humble, keep playing hard and have fun out here.”
Miles Bridges added 22 points and Ball – who returned from a one-game absence – notched his 4th career triple-double after putting up 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with a career-high eight turnovers. Kelly Oubre Jr. (19 points) made his first appearance in four games, igniting a bench unit that outscored Boston, 35-26.
While the Hornets went 15-of-30 from 3-point range after starting the game 1-of-9 (41% overall), the defensive efforts were vastly improved compared to their first meeting with Boston back in October, which ended with a 140-129 overtime loss. Jayson Tatum had 41 points in that game, but scored just 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting on Wednesday night. Schröder (24) and Brown (21) each had 20-point showings, although the latter was just 2-of-11 from distance.
Starting with their comeback win in Denver on Dec. 23, the Hornets have been playing pretty solid basketball lately – they’ve now won six of seven and gone 9-3 over this stretch. Winning on the road in front of a nationally-televised ESPN audience is always exciting, although Borrego continues to preach that performances like this should be the expectation, not the exception.
The Hornets will now open a two-game homestand starting with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7 PM ET.