Kemba Walker scored 21, Nicolas Batum scored 13, and Malik Monk scored 16, but it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Hornets fell apart in the second half and lost to the Boston Celtics,
The two teams went back and forth for the first several minutes of the first quarter. The Hornets got contributions in some unlikely places- Bismack Biyombo dropped a nice dime to Marvin Williams on a back cut while Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist combined for 14 first quarter points. The Hornets defense let up a bit as the bench units trickled in, and it resulted in them taking a seven point deficit into the second quarter.
After some back and forth, the Celtics slowly built their lead up to 11 in the middle part of the second quarter. The Hornets did a poor job keeping the Celtics out of the paint and couldn’t get stops. The double digit deficit ignited the Hornets, who scored 11 straight points to tie the game at 54. Malik Monk scored eight points during and after the run, continuing his hot shooting from Monday night. The Hornets briefly held the lead, but the Celtics scored five straight points to end the quarter and set the halftime score at 63-59.
Much like the Hornets last visit to Boston, the third quarter was when things went bad. The Celtics went on an 18-4 run as the Hornets looked completely lost on the offensive end of the floor. A Monk three point play marked the first points scored in the third quarter by a Hornet not named Walker or Batum. In all, the Celtics outscored the Hornets 25-6 over the final 7:27 of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was garbage time from start to finish. Joe Chealey got his first career NBA minutes and scored his first NBA points on a nice floater.
The first half was promising. Kemba Walker looked like his All Star self. Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were aggressive on the offensive end. Malik Monk played well again, but for the second consecutive visit to Boston, it all unraveled in the third quarter. The offense was stagnant and the defense repeatedly gave up easy shots.
The Hornets will have a chance to bounce back when the Memphis Grizzlies come to town on Friday.