Celtics-Hornets Live: Kemba Walker Powers Charlotte To 104-95 Win

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January 5, 2015

jeff greenFinal, Hornets 104-95: Some spirited play by the Boston bench powered a late Celtics comeback, but like so many have this season, this one fell short.

The Celtics now travel to Brooklyn, where they’ll battle the Nets on Wednesday.

Fourth quarter 3:18, Hornets 96-85: Kemba Walker wants no part of the Celtics’ comeback. The UConn product has 31 points on the night, more than double the point total of the highest-scoring Celtic (Jared Sullinger, 14 points).

Fourth quarter 5:26, Hornets 88-82: Wow. Maybe this one isn’t over just yet.

Brandon Bass blocks a Kemba Walker floater, and Jae Crowder feeds James Young for a three at the other end to bring the Celtics to within six. The C’s bench is getting it done here in the fourth.

It goes without saying, but this is by far Young’s best game as a pro. He has 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting and even is showing some promising signs on the defensive end, too.

End third quarter, Hornets 79-62: The Celtics are on pace for one of their worst offensive performances of the season, but at least James Young has been able to get in on the action.

The rookie sank a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter — his first points since Nov. 30 — then drained another jumper before the clock expired.

Third quarter 5:35, Hornets 65-46: Cody Zeller is enjoying one of the best games of his career. The younger brother of Tyler has yet to miss a shot (8-for-8) and already has surpassed his career high with 18 points.

The Hornets have showed no signs of slowing down here in the third.

Third quarter 11:59, Hornets 50-36: The second half is underway.

Halftime, Hornets 50-36: That was one forgettable half for the Celtics. Charlotte is in full control heading into the break.

Also:

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Second quarter 3:03, Hornets 44-30: Brad Stevens signals for a timeout, and James Young prepares to check in for the first time in over a month.

Second quarter 5:42, Hornets 36-28: That’s more like it.

The Celtics finally began to show some consistency as they neared the midway point of the second quarter, with Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and Tyler Zeller getting buckets on consecutive trips down the floor.

Avery Bradley now is the only Celtics starter who still has a goose egg in the scoring column.

Second quarter 8:33, Hornets 32-21: With the way they’re playing, the Celtics really should be trailing by a lot more than 11.

Boston’s offense just seems incapable of putting together any sort of rhythm. Marcus Smart did nail a 3-pointer on his first shot of the night, but it came after Jae Crowder missed one and Kelly Olynyk misfired on two more earlier in the frame.

End first quarter, Hornets 24-16: Kemba Walker is on tonight. He has 11 points to lead all scorers as the Hornets hold an eight-point lead through one quarter.

Jeff Green (seven points) was the only Celtics starter to score in the first, but the bench did chip in with an additional nine points. Conversely, all 24 Hornets points have come from their starting five.

First quarter 2:05, Hornets 20-11: The Celtics’ offense finally perked up a bit after falling behind 16-6, and players not named Jeff Green decided to join in the fun.

Kelly Olynyk converted a strong and-one against Cody Zeller, and Brandon Bass hit his first shot of the night on Boston’s next possession.

First quarter 7:37, Hornets 11-4: The Hornets are getting the better of the Celtics so far, as Boston has made just two of its first 10 shots — both off the hands of Jeff Green.

Meanwhile, Charlotte has gotten points from four of its five starters, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the lone Hornet yet to contribute to the scoring.

First quarter 11:59, 0-0: Bismack Biyombo wins the opening tip for the visitors, and we are underway.  

During the pregame ceremonies, the Celtics asked for a moment of silence in honor of legendary “SportsCenter” anchor Stuart Scott, who died Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

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7:20 p.m.: James Young will be active tonight for the Celtics. The rookie hasn’t played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, and even that was only a two-minute cameo in a blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The vast majority of Young’s playing time this season has come with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, for whom he’s averaged 22.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in eight games.

6:40 p.m. ET: The Charlotte Hornets will visit Causeway Street on Monday night, but old friend Al Jefferson will not.

Jefferson, who began his career with the Boston Celtics and torched the C’s for 23 points and 14 rebounds last month, will be sidelined for the foreseeable future with a groin injury and thus will not be available when the Hornets take on his former team.

It’s a significant loss for Charlotte, as Jefferson leads the team in both scoring and rebounding and is a massive upgrade over his backup, fourth-year center Bismack Biyombo.

Charlotte also will be without guard Lance Stephenson, who remained in North Carolina to receive treatment on his injured pelvis.

The Celtics are not at full strength, either. Guards Marcus Thornton and Jameer Nelson, who both sat out Saturday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, again will be inactive against the Hornets. Head coach Brad Stevens said in his pregame news conference that Thornton is “still a day or two away” and could play Wednesday when the team visits the Brooklyn Nets and that Nelson’s sprained ankle will be reevaluated Monday night.

The absence of the two guards will not affect the Celtics’ starting lineup, though, which finally looks stable for the first time since the Rajon Rondo trade.

Here are the starting fives for both teams:

Celtics
Evan Turner
Avery Bradley
Jeff Green
Jared Sullinger
Tyler Zeller

Hornets
Kemba Walker
Gerald Henderson
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Cody Zeller
Bismack Biyombo

Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Follow along with all the action right here, and follow NESN.com Celtics beat writer Zack Cox on Twitter for instant updates and analysis.

Photo via Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports Images

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