The Celtics were able to bounce back with a gritty 98-93 victory in Charlotte Saturday night behind 23 points from Avery Bradley and 20 more and a career high 13 assists from Isaiah Thomas. After both teams got their legs back after a sloppy first half, the second half of this matchup was much more in line of what you would expect from two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
Right from the tip it was apparent this was a matchup of two teams who were on the back end of a back to back. The Celtics started 1-6 from the floor and the Hornets opened up 1-10. Charlotte's poor shooting lasted longer than Boston's, and the Celts were able to jump out to an early 11-2 lead behind a few Bradley mid range jumpers. The Hornets only scored four points in the first six minutes but soon woke up, finishing the quarter with a 15-5 run to take a 17-16 lead.
The second quarter was a back and forth affair with a series of runs by both teams. The Celtics only shot 1-10 from three in the half and were fortunate to only find themselves down 42-38 after 24 minutes. Thomas led the Celtics with 8 points and added 5 assists, while Kemba Walker had 9 for the Hornets and Spencer Hawes chipped in with 8 of his own.
The Celtics came out firing in the third quarter, and after scoring only 38 points in the first half scored 35 in the 3rd quarter alone. The Celtics shot 7-10 from three in the quarter, including two treys apiece from Bradley, Jae Crowder and Thomas (with one particular make from Isaiah followed by a "Superman stare" according to Scal), going on a 14-2 run to go up 69-57. The Hornets wouldn't fold either, as Nicolas Batum went on a personal 7-0 run to bring the Hornets back to within 4 at the end of the 3rd at 73-69.
The teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter, with neither team able to create separation. The Hornets hit several deep threes and actually came back to take a 3-point lead with under four minutes to play. Unfortunately for Charlotte, Bradley refused to let the Celtics lose on this night. He hit a three and a lay-up, then added a big assist down the stretch to give the Celtics a three point lead. A Kemba Walker jumper brought the Hornets within one with 13 seconds to play, but they wouldn't score again. After an odd sequence left both coaches unhappy with the referees where the Hornets thought they had a jump ball on Thomas and the Celtics thought Thomas was getting hacked (he was), the Celtics were able to get the ball to Crowder who calmly sank two free throws. After a wild Batum miss, Evan Turner finished an and-1 layup to seal the deal.
/draws up ATO
/Evan Turner and 1