Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker, left, and Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, right, battle for the ball during the first half of Wednesday’s game at Spectrum Center. Chuck Burton AP
Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker, left, and Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, right, battle for the ball during the first half of Wednesday’s game at Spectrum Center. Chuck Burton AP

Charlotte Hornets

Hornets fight back but lose to Boston Celtics; Charlotte now 10-10 at home

December 27, 2017 09:33 PM

This one looked like another crater job, after the Charlotte Hornets fell behind by 17 points in the first half versus the Boston Celtics.

The Hornets closed the deficit to as little as two, but the end result was indicative of this season: A 102-91 loss that dropped the Hornets to 12-22 overall and 10-10 at Spectrum Center.

Kemba Walker finished with 24 points for the Hornets and added five assists. The Celtics (28-10) made 15 of their 34 3-point attempts. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving finished with 21 points and eight assists. Al Horford added 20 points and 11 rebounds, making four of his six 3-point attempts.

The Hornets now leave on their first West Coast trip this season, starting Friday in Oakland, California, versus the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

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Three who mattered

Walker: He saved the Hornets’ 3-point percentage pretty much single-handedly.

Horford: Such an efficient offensive player; he pulled Dwight Howard out off the lane, making three of his first five 3-point attempts.

Terry Rozier: Strong minutes off the bench compensated for some Celtics injuries.


▪  Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played (and started) Wednesday, after missing Tuesday’s practice with an illness. Kidd-Gilchrist playing was major, because he was the best option to cover spectacular rookie Jayson Tatum. Tatum entered this game leading the NBA in 3-point percentage at 50 percent.

▪  Acting coach Stephen Silas chose to put in the second unit quickly Wednesday, with five reserves playing the last two minutes of the first quarter. Neither of the two rookies – Malik Monk nor Dwayne Bacon – was in that group.

▪  The Hornets had Monk back in Charlotte for this game, after sending him to Greensboro Tuesday for a G-League game with the Swarm. Monk scored 25 points in that game.

▪  The Hornets announced another uniform option Wednesday, in their relationship with Nike’s Jordan Brand. It’s a variation on the black “Buzz City” jersey from last season, minus the sleeves on the previous model.

▪  The Celtics had an absurdly hot first half from 3-point range at 11-of-18.

PHOTOS: A detailed look at the Hornets fifth and final uniform for the 2017-18 season, the City Edition #BuzzCity Uniforms. | #WeAreJordan

— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 27, 2017

Worth mentioning

▪  The Hornets fly west Thursday morning for Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. It’s undetermined whether former Davidson star Stephen Curry will be back for the Warriors Friday. Curry has missed the last couple of weeks with an ankle sprain.

▪  The Hornets have now played 20 of 41 home games this season; they don’t play again at Spectrum Center until Jan. 10.

▪  This was the only regular-season game the Celtics play in Charlotte this season.

Report card

C OFFENSE: The Celtics’ switching defense limited just about every Hornet except Walker.

C+ DEFENSE: The 3-point line was a disaster, but the Hornets limited Boston second-chance points and minimized Celtics trips to the foul line.

B COACHING: Good comeback following an awful first quarter, but this team doesn’t finish close games.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

Celtics 102, Hornets 91

BOSTON (102)—Tatum 6-12 6-6 18, Horford 8-11 0-0 20, Baynes 3-8 1-1 7, Irving 8-19 2-2 21, Smart 2-9 0-0 5, Yabusele 1-2 0-0 3, Theis 0-1 2-2 2, Rozier 5-10 2-2 15, Larkin 4-6 0-0 11. Totals 37-78 13-13 102.

CHARLOTTE (91)—Kidd-Gilchrist 5-9 3-5 13, Williams 5-10 2-2 13, Howard 3-10 6-10 12, Walker 9-22 2-2 24, Batum 3-9 0-0 7, O’Bryant III 2-3 0-0 4, Kaminsky 2-9 5-6 9, Carter-Williams 0-5 0-0 0, Lamb 3-5 1-2 8, Graham 0-5 1-2 1. Totals 32-87 20-29 91.













3-Point Goals—Boston 15-34 (Horford 4-6, Larkin 3-4, Rozier 3-7, Irving 3-7, Yabusele 1-2, Smart 1-4, Baynes 0-1, Tatum 0-3), Charlotte 7-23 (Walker 4-10, Lamb 1-1, Batum 1-3, Williams 1-4, Graham 0-1, Kaminsky 0-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Boston 43 (Horford 11), Charlotte 52 (Howard 17). Assists—Boston 20 (Irving 8), Charlotte 15 (Walker 5). Total Fouls—Boston 20, Charlotte 11. A—19,611 (19,077).