Celtics Wrap: Boston Gets Back On Track With 109-92 Victory Over Hornets


The Boston Celtics ended the year in style.

Playing without Jaylen Brown, Boston rebounded from Saturday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors, earning a 109-92 win Tuesday afternoon over the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics received strong contributions from their best players, as Jayson Tatum (24 points, seven rebounds), Kemba Walker (22 points, seven assists) and Gordon Hayward (21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) all played well.

Marcus Smart did his Marcus Smart thing, scoring seven points while dishing out seven assists and pulling down five rebounds.

The Celtics also got a big game out of Enes Kanter, who scored 13 points while hauling in 14 rebounds and recording a career-high six blocks.

Forward P.J. Washington led the Hornets with 15 points.

The Celtics improved to 23-8 with the win, while the Hornets dropped to 13-23 with the loss.

Here’s how it all went down:

PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis

The first quarter wasn’t pretty, but it ultimately went the Celtics’ way.

The teams combined for 10 turnovers, with Washington leading the way with three. But it was the play of Tatum (13 points) and Walker (five points) that enabled Boston to rise above the sloppy play.

The Celtics shot 40.9 percent from the field in the first quarter, while the Hornets checked in with 36.8 percent. Boston was 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, while the Hornets hit 25 percent of their shots from long distance.

Miles Bridges paced Charlotte with four points.

The Celtics took a 50-43 edge into the locker room, but not before the Hornets found their footing.

Bridges and Washington poured in seven and five points, respectively, as the Hornets mostly did whatever they wanted throughout the quarter. However, Hayward, who had been in a slump, scored 10 points (2-of-2 from 3-point range) to help the Celtics maintain their lead.

The Celtics shot 44.4 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from long distance in the first half. Tatum led all scorers with 13 points, with Hayward (12 points) and Walker (10 points) offering major contributions, as well.

Boston had a 23-20 rebounding advantage over Charlotte.

The Celtics played well in the third quarter, but the Hornets nevertheless managed to keep their deficit at seven points.

Old friend Terry Rozier poured in eight points in the frame, while center Cody Zeller scored eight of his own. Had it not been for five more turnovers, the Hornets would’ve had a great chance at taking the lead.

Alas, Hayward (seven points), Tatum (six) and Walker (seven) kept Boston’s train rolling. Smart also had a strong quarter with five points to go along with one assist and one rebound, while Semi Ojeleye knocked down a big 3-pointer after the Hornets narrowed the gap to four points with just over a minute remaining.

The Celtics committed just three turnovers while racking up four steals. Kanter was one of the Celtics’ top performers through three quarters, scoring nine points while racking up 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Hornets center Bismack Biyombo scored six points while pulling down three rebounds and recording one steal in the frame.

Boston asserted itself in the final quarter, opening up a 17-point lead with 4:39 left in the game and never looking back.

The Celtics got contributions from across the lineup, as Daniel Theis, Grant Williams and Ojeleye were the only players who didn’t score. Kanter was the top performer, punctuating one of his finest games as a Celtic with eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Playing in his old gym, Walker led the Celtics down the stretch.

For the game, Boston shot 45.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from long distance.

Great pass, better catch.

The Celtics will return to the court Friday night when they host the Atlanta Hawks. Tip off at TD Garden is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

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