With this win, the Celtics are now tied with the Hornets in the standings.
The Boston Celtics rallied from 16 down over the final 18 minutes of play, sparked by a small-ball lineup bookended by newcomers Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko, and emerged with a 106-98 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night at a rocking TD Garden.
Boston's new point guard scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, enabling the Celtics to fight back from a 16-point second half deficit against the Charlotte Hornets, and pull away for a 106-98 win. Avery Bradley added 19 points for the hosts, and Jonas Jerebko chipped in with 16 points off the bench for the Celtics, who have now won three straight games and seven of their last ten overall. Mo Williams had a game-high 31 points for the Hornets in the setback.
Boston's bench scored 60 points and outscored their starters in this exciting comeback win against another playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. Thank you Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko, and last but not least, Jae Crowder . . . all new combers to the Celtics this year. And as bench players, they all did a terrific job in catapulting the Celtics over the conference rival Hornets in the second half. The Celtics were down by 16 with 4 minutes left in the 3d quarter, after which the C's screamed by the Hornets with some great defense and shooting by these three recent acquisitions. Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart were also key members of the comeback core. With 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Celtics had eliminated the 16 pt deficit. It was then a see-saw battle until 2.5 minutes remaining, when the Celtics salted the win away with points by Bradley, Crowder, Thomas and Jerebko and great team defense. Special defensive going to Jae Crowder. How sweet it is!!
Thomas lead the way with an impressive 28 points generated from a combination of drives and 3-point shots, along with a couple of nice dishes and free throws. Jerebko played the entire 4th quarter and scored 11 points with 5 rebounds during the last period, providing the necessary big man presence for the Celtics in the paint . . . Michael Holley of CSNNE stated tongue-in-cheek "welcome to the Jonas Jerebko era in Boston!!".
Coach Stevens afterward gave a lot of credit to the smaller but strong Jae Crowder being able to play defense against the Charlotte center and former Celtic Big Al Jefferson effectively in the post during the Celtic's late-game run. Marcus Smart's D also frustrated the Hornets with several defensive plays that resulted in Charlotte turnovers.
It is interesting if not amazing that the remaining post-trade-deadline Celtics (IT, JCrowder, JJerebko) without Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk can beat competitive teams like the Hornets who also want to make the playoffs.
The future so bright, and the sunset is becoming after 5:00 PM in Boston, that it makes you want to wear shades!