Al Jefferson had another double-double, Kemba Walker finished with 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, and the Charlotte Hornets looked like they had fun for the first time all year as they defeated the Boston Celtics 96-87 in Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday night.
Jefferson finished with 23 points — 11 of which came in the fourth quarter — and 14 rebounds and Lance Stephenson scored nine of the 13 in the third quarter as the Hornets used a combination of 56-point second half and a defense that began to resemble what they had last season to put away the Celtics late. The Hornets were aggressive early in the second half and finally stopped settling for jumpers and began to attack the basket — a big reason for the final free throw discrepancy between the two squads. The Hornets finished shooting 23-of-29 on free throws, while the Celtics had only 10 free throw attempts (they made six of them).
Boston was led by Rajon Rondo's triple-double (12 points, 10 assists and 10 boards) and Marcus Thornton's 16 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter. Thornton helped lead the Celtics back from a 12-point second half deficit to cut the lead to one in the fourth quarter, but Charlotte responded well to the challenge and soon after put Boston away for good after Jefferson put back a missed 3-pointer from Marvin Williams plus a foul for a three-point play.
The win improves the Hornets to 6-15 on the season (5-7 at home) and drops Boston to 7-13 on the year. Charlotte hits the road to take on Memphis on Friday night.
Let's enjoy this one. The Charlotte Hornets are officially on a winning streak!