A multitude of things had to go wrong in the Boston Celtics’ most recent meltdown, this time blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead in a 124-117 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
But perhaps chief among the reasons Boston fell apart in the fourth was because they completely lost track of Kemba Walker.
The Hornets point guard is a notorious fourth-quarter performer, and he torched The Green on Saturday night, going for 18 points in the final 12 minutes as the Hornets closed things out with a massive 30-5 run to cap the comeback.
After the game, Kyrie Irving said the Celtics were much too lax on the one they call “Cardiac Kemba.”
Walker finished with 36 points, also tacking on 11 rebounds and nine assists.
He went for 41 points against the Celtics in a 117-112 Hornets win over the C’s on Nov. 19. Boston split its four-game regular-season series against Charlotte, with Walker averaging 29.8 points in those games.
Irving put up a spectacular evening in his own right scoring-wise, finishing with 31 points on his 27th birthday. The point guard thought his day was done when the Celtics went up big in the fourth quarter, but was called upon to put out the fire with 5:51, which he was unable to do. He was outscored 11-2 by Walker in the final five minutes.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Hornets-Celtics game:
— The Celtics were trailing 120-117 with 14.1 seconds and a timeout remaining when Terry Rozier threw up a low-quality look from beyond the arc in a desperate attempt to tie the game.
The shot rimmed out, and Charlotte was able to run things out after hauling in the rebound and forcing the C’s to foul. After the game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens took the onus of the blame for the poor look.
— Jaylen Brown put up another stunning performance off the bench, finishing with 29 points on a 10-for-13 night from the floor. He hit 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc.
Brown was quiet in the Celtics’ losses to the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers, posting just six points in each tilt. But the 22-year-old’s effort Saturday was his fourth 20-point performance his last six games.
— The Celtics were topped on the boards 53-42, while allowing the Hornets to grab 14 offensive rebounds.
— To make matters worse, the C’s lost Robert Williams in the second quarter with a lower-back contusion after a hard fall under the basket while attempting a putback dunk. Boston already is without Aron Baynes and was without Al Horford, who is battling a lingering knee injury, on Saturday.
Daniel Theis filled in admirably, putting up five points with three rebounds and was a plus-15 after Williams exited.
Boston did reportedly sign center Greg Monroe to a 10-day contract. So reinforcements seem to be on the way.
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