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Hornets struggle against Kemba Walker’s Celtics, lose 108-87

The Hornets couldn’t get anything going against a tough Celtics defense.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The team’s new point guards struggled against their old teams and the Charlotte Hornets struggled to shoot in general as they fell to the Boston Celtics,

The Hornets played with poise in the early moments of the game, which is impressive for such a young team on such an emotional night. Kemba Walker attempted the first shot of the game, but it was short. Miles Bridges opened the scoring with a 3-pointer off a couple offensive rebounds. After a few minutes of traded baskets, the Hornets went ice cold from the field while letting up easy buckets on the defensive end. The Celtics raced out to a nine point lead thanks to nine straight points before a Miles Bridges tip-in stopped the run. It provided a temporary respite, but the Hornets couldn’t pull any closer before the end of the quarter. Devonte’ Graham crossed over on Marcus Smart and finished the ensuing and-1, but Malik Monk let the Celtics match it by fouling Jayson Tatum on a pump fake. After one, the Hornets trailed by 10.

The first half of the second quarter was clunky; the teams had only scored a combined fourteen points by the midway point. The Hornets struggled with the Celtics pressure, turning it over frequently. The Celtics had an easier time generating looks on offense. They just didn’t hit them. The Hornets fell behind by as much as 13 points, but a quick seven points by Bridges got the Hornets back within four and forced a Celtics timeout. The Celtics responded with eleven straight points of their own, but the Hornets finished the half strong. This play was followed by a Devonte’ Graham steal and 3-pointer to bring the Hornets within single digits at the half.

At the half, Terry Rozier and Kemba Walker had combined for 3 points on 0/12 shooting.

Rozier got off the snide with his first attempt of the second half, hitting a tough fall away jumper over Walker. Walker wasn’t far behind with a driving layup a couple minutes later. The former Hornet got after that, draining three 3-pointers in the ensuing minutes. The Hornets struggled on both ends of the floor, falling behind by 20 on a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer that looked like it would end the quarter. But Devonte’ Graham and Cody Martin had another trick up their collective sleeve.

The fourth quarter started much like the second. The Hornets had a really hard time getting the ball in the basket and were slow to rotate on defense. By the halfway point of the quarter, it was clear the Hornets didn’t have the juice tonight. James Borrego called timeout after PJ Washington fouled Marcus Smart on a driving layup, putting the Hornets down by 20 before the ensuing free throw. The benches started filtering in after that.

Miles Bridges and Devonte’ Graham were the lone offensive bright spots for the Hornets, scoring 18 and 15 points respectively. Cody Martin came in and made an impact with his defense and effort, even in the losing effort.

The Hornets struggled badly with the Celtics ball pressure, giving up a number of live ball turnovers and letting it disrupt the flow of the offense. They got into late shot clock situations much more often we’ve typically seen from them. Defensively they struggled to keep up with the Celtics ball movement, frequently missing rotations when the Celtics pinged the ball around the perimeter.

The Hornets will have a chance to turn things around quickly with a weekend back to back coming against the Pelicans and 76ers.