The Hornets held the Celtics without a 3-point field goal in the first quarter, but it didn’t limit Boston’s offensive efficiency. The Celtics missed 16 shots total, but they corralled 10 of those. There were multiple possessions where the Celtics were able to shoot until they made a shot. The Hornets kept pace for much of the quarter, but eight straight from the visitors to end the quarter but the Hornets in a 29-22 hole.
LaMelo Ball turned the ball over on two of the Hornets first three possessions of the second quarter, his fifth and sixth of the game. Isaiah Thomas got the call from the bench, and it ignited a run from the Hornets. Thomas scored five points as part of a 16-3 run to narrow the deficit to two and force a Celtics timeout. The Celtics answered with a run of their own, but some interior shots and a 3-pointer from PJ Washington helped the Hornets stay within four by the time we reached the half.
Miles Bridges opened the second half with a three, his first points of the ballgame. He and Ball combined to score all of the Hornets first 14 points of the half as they took the lead about halfway through the quarter. Bridges was noticeably more aggressive than he was in the first half and got deep in his bag with some nifty dribbling and finishing. The offense started to sputter as the benches trickled in and the Hornets went a little iso-heavy. The Celtics built up a bit of a lead, but the Hornets cut it down to four late in the quarter. However, the Celtics were gifted five free throws in the final 13 seconds of the quarter and connected on all of them to take a nine point lead into the fourth.
The Hornets first three offensive possessions of the fourth quarter ended in Cody Martin shot attempts (all misses) while the Celtics scored nine straight points to take an 18 point lead and blow the game open. Jayson Tatum scored most of those points as he became the second consecutive Hornets opponent top 40 points in a game. The Hornets didn’t do much of anything well in the fourth and the game turned into a showcase for the Celtics.
The game got away from the Hornets in that third to fourth quarter bridge where the Celtics scored 16 straight points. The Hornets offense struggled, which isn’t wholly surprising given how good Boston has been defensively in the last couple of months. The Hornets made just 8-of-25 3-pointers and turned the ball over 16 times to just 18 assists.
The Hornets will have a day off before visiting Devonte’ Graham and a New Orleans Pelicans team that was blowing teams out but then suddenly became really really bad.