The Charlotte Hornets routed the Boston Celtics Monday night, 114-100, giving the Atlanta Hawks homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference and the Hornets one last chance at the fifth seed should they beat the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and should the Celtics lose to the Miami Heat.
So, as things stand:
|Seed||Team||Games behind||Games remaining|
|1||Cleveland Cavaliers||0||vs DET|
|2||Toronto Raptors||2.5||vs PHI, @ BRK|
|3||Atlanta Hawks||9||@ WAS|
|4||Miami Heat||9.5||@ DET, vs MIA|
|5||Boston Celtics||10||vs MIA|
|6||Charlotte Hornets||10||@ ORL|
|7||Indiana Pacers||13.5||vs NYK, @ MIL|
Jeremy Lin led the Hornets with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five steals in 39 minutes off the bench. Lin scored the majority of his points in the second quarter, when the Hornets went on a 31-3 run and essentially put the game away. He was absolutely everywhere tonight. If the Hornets get this Lin in the playoffs? Watch out, Eastern Conference.
Al Jefferson added a double-double — his seventh of the season — and schooled the Celtics' young frontcourt in the post. The Celtics simply didn't have an answer for Big Al, and they certainly tried to find one. Just about every Celtics big tried and failed to guard Al, and the Celtics' double teams weren't particularly effective, either. On one occasion, Jefferson just pushed Avery Bradley away when the Celtics guard tried to dig down in the post. Al finished the night with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Kemba Walker added 18 points, six assists, and an uncharacteristic four turnovers. Marvin Williams converted on four of his six 3-point attempts, and scored 16 points for the game.
While the Celtics led by four points after the first quarter, the Hornets quickly made a run in the second and never looked back. The Hornets led by as many as 28 at one point, though the Celtics made a handful of small runs that ultimately didn't amount to much. The lead never fell below 14 once after that.
The Hornets shot 50.6 percent from the field for the game and limited the Celtics to just 38.2 percent.
The Hornets' last game of the regular season is on Wednesday, against the Magic.