Hornets Start Strong, Celtics Rally for Victory
Bridges Shines with Game-High 23 Points in 2nd NBA Preseason Appearance
By Sam Perley
The second meeting in three nights between the Hornets and Celtics went in favor of the home team once again as Charlotte lost a shootout, 115-112, on Sunday, Sept. 30 in Boston.
Holding a 32-24 lead after the opening 12 minutes, things got away from the Hornets in the second quarter as they were outscored by Boston, 40-25, in the frame. Second-year forward Jayson Tatum accounted for 13 points alone for the Celtics during this stretch.
The Hornets hung in with Boston for much of the second half and eventually pulled away with a seven-point lead and 4:23 remaining in regulation. Unfortunately, Charlotte couldn’t slow down a 16-6 Celtics run to end the game, moving to 1-1 in the preseason.
“I think our first group got off to a good start,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “I was pleased with the first quarter. I think defensively, we were locked in and had good pace. The second unit came in, [Boston] got into us, the pressure picked up in the second quarter and we just didn’t handle it really well.”
Hornets rookie Miles Bridges erupted for a game-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting (4-of-6 from three), six rebounds and two assists in the loss. Only six Charlotte rookies have ever shot at least 75 percent from the field on 12-or-more attempts in a regular season game (Johnson, Mourning, Davis, Okafor, Herrmann and Kidd-Gilchrist).
Starter Willy Hernangómez had 14 points and three rebounds, while Malik Monk (13 points) and Kemba Walker (10 points and six rebounds) also scored in double figures. Frank Kaminsky chipped in six points and team-high seven rebounds.
“The pace is good. The guys are moving the ball,” added Borrego. “I think they’re doing some things that we’ve asked them to. We’ve got a long way to go, but I like what I see. They’re communicating, they’re into the game, they’re pulling for each other.”
Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams and Tony Parker were all rested for the game. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did not play in the second half because of concussion-like symptoms.
Boston got a team-high 20 points from five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving and 16 points from Tatum. Terry Rozier (13 points), Marcus Morris (12 points) and Jaylen Brown (11 points) were also in double digits for the hometown Celtics.
Both teams were better from three-point range than they were on Friday night; Charlotte went 12-of-33 (36.4 percent) and Boston was 13-of-31 (41.9 percent). The Celtics won the rebounding battle, 50-39, which included a decisive 12-3 edge in offensive boards.
The Hornets return to action for their preseason Spectrum Center debut against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Charlotte, NC.