Final, Hornets win, 90-78: Aminu, Vasquez and Lopez all scored at least 15 minutes and the Hornets defense stymied the Celtics on Wednesday night. The Celtics turned the ball over 15 times. Austin Rivers finished with 8 points, his highest total since Dec. 28. The Celtics host the Bulls on Friday night.
Fourth quarter, 2:35, Hornets lead, 82-71: Every time it looked like the Celtics might pull closer, Vasquez did something to shut them down. The Hornets point guard didn’t put on his best performance from behind the arc, but his transition buckets were timely.
Fourth quarter, 7:07, Hornets lead, 74-67: The Celtics need a run here. They’re alternating buckets right now and it’s not going to be good enough. Doc called a timeout and Sullinger appears ready to enter. Perhaps he can slow down Amino and Robin Lopez.
End of third quarter, Hornets lead, 68-63: With time winding down in the quarter, Garnett, Terry and Courtney Lee moved aside to let Pierce go one-on-one with Rivers. Pierce beat Rivers to his right before getting swarmed, but turned around and drained the fade-away regardless. Pierce then committed a silly foul on Rivers with 0.4 seconds left, bumping the rookie off the dribble and sending him to the line for a pair of free throws. Looks like Rivers has given the Celtics a little extra incentive.
Third quarter, 4:17, Hornets lead, 61-54: With Terry and Sullinger joining Rondo, Pierce and Garnett on the floor, the Celtics were able to slow things down and put together an 11-9 run. Terry has provided a spark, scoring on transition and then draining a 3-pointer to keep the Celtics close. They’ll need to find an answer for Amino, who has a game-high 14 points.
Third quarter, 8:47, Hornets lead, 52-43: Three straight turnovers result in points for New Orleans. The Hornets are playing some tight on-ball defense, resulting in a pair of steals as Paul Pierce couldn’t shake his defender. Timeout by Doc as the Celtics try to shake off the halftime rust.
End of first half, Hornets lead, 44-43: After the Hornets finished a 12-2 run, Rajon Rondo swung the momentum when he stole a pass, raced the other way and made a spinning, reverse lay-up while taking a foul from Mason. The Hornets are playing some tough defense, though. Even Bradley, who is typically wide open behind the 3-point line, has been getting smothered.
Second quarter, 6:20, Hornets lead, 33-32: Jared Sullinger has been getting some suspect fouls called against him lately, with tonight being no different. He was whistled for his third mid-way through the second when he held his left hand straight in the air to defend a drive from Al-Farouq Aminu. Rivers picked up his second basket on a drive into Kevin Garnett territory. Rivers smartly floated a high jumper over Garnett’s long arms. Smart kid.
Second quarter, Celtics lead, 29-22: Hornets guard Brian Roberts has left the game with an apparent left ankle injury. He fell awkwardly after getting fouled on a lay-up attempt and was unable to shoot his free throws.
End of the first quarter, Celtics lead, 25-20: Rivers scored his first field goal in five games on a drive to the hoop where he bumped off Terry and floated in a lay-up. Overall, it was a pretty mellow first quarter, but a strong start from the Celtics. Anthony Davis has been fairly invisible. Bradley has kept Greivis Vasquez quiet.
First quarter, 4:19, Celtics lead, 18-8: Austin Rivers has checked in the game. The TD Garden crowd gave the young fellow a pretty decent roar. Coincidentally, Doc Rivers took defensive-specialist Avery Bradley out of the game and replaced him with offensive-specialist Jason Terry.
First quarter, 6:49, Celtics lead, 11-8: Roger Mason Jr. got the start at shooting guard with Eric Gordon giving his achy knee a rest. The Celtics hit their first four jumpers and Avery Bradley stole the ball and took it end-to-end to give them an early lead. Keep a watch on the battle inside the paint tonight. The Hornets rarely get to the free throw line, but the Celtics have struggled with foul trouble recently and could change that.
Austin Rivers was not in the Hornets starting lineup, though he should see some playing time against his dad’s team. The Celtics are looking for their seventh straight win.