Hornets Start Slow, Can’t Complete Comeback Win in Boston
Celtics Build Early 20-PT Lead, Charlotte Undone by Defensive Rebounding, Streaky Shooting
For the second straight night, the Charlotte Hornets came up just short of fully erasing a huge first-half deficit, instead falling to the Celtics, 120-111, on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Devonte’ Graham notched his third consecutive 20-point game in the loss, finishing with 25 points on 5-of-12 shooting from three, five rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. This was also Graham’s second straight 25-point showing, marking the first time he’s accomplished this particular feat this season and fourth time overall in his career.
Trailing by 20 after the first quarter, the Hornets progressively regrouped over the following two frames and entered the fourth trailing just 88-80. Charlotte continued to chip away, eventually getting to within three with 7:23 remaining. An 11-2 Boston run though spanning the next four minutes of game action effectively closed the door on the comeback attempt.
“I thought we responded well,” said Coach Borrego after the loss. “Poor first quarter. Give [Boston] credit. They played with more urgency and they made shots. They looked like us in the first quarter on [Sunday]. I thought we responded a little bit better there in the final three quarters. We need somebody to step up and make shots. Devonte’ is knocking it down right now. He looks good, much more comfortable. We’ve stayed confident with him.”
Miles Bridges and PJ Washington both scored 19 points and fellow starter Terry Rozier added 15 points and seven assists, although shot just 4-of-18 and 1-of-8 from three. And after not playing in any of the last three games, Cody Zeller racked up 16 points and four rebounds off the bench for Charlotte.
The Celtics snapped their three-game losing streak thanks largely to 30-point outings from All-Stars Jaylen Brown (38; 20 in the first quarter) and Jayson Tatum (35), knocking off the Hornets for the ninth straight time at home. Rookie Aaron Nesmith had 15 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks off the bench and Tristan Thompson double-doubled with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, seven of which were offensive.
Boston dominated the glass, outrebounding the Hornets, 54-33, which included a 19-11 edge in offensive boards and a 19-10 advantage in second-chance scoring. Charlotte shot 13-of-35 from deep (37%), 24-of-32 from the charity stripe (75%), had five fast-break points and committed just 11 turnovers, with only four coming in the second half.
The Hornets will now have two full days off before kicking off another all-home, back-to-back set against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, May 1 beginning at 7 PM EST. Catch all the action on Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.