BOSTON — The Isaiah Thomas era continued its promising start on Friday night.
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.
The Celtics tied a season-high with 14 3-point field goals for the third straight game, as the infusion of offense from Thomas and Jerebko lead Boston to 37 fourth quarter points.
The comeback was also particularly impressive, since Hornets built a 16 point-lead thanks to a 25-1 run that carried over from before halftime into the third quarter.
Thomas enabled the Celtics to fight back from the ugly stretch, thanks to his relentless aggression (game-high 10 free throw attempts), and unselfish play (seven assists). Head coach Brad Stevens went with a small-ball lineup during the comeback that featured Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko at the 4 and 5 spots, allowing the Celtics to spread the floor with plenty of perimeter shooting.
Boston improved to 23-33 with the victory, and are now in a four-way tie with the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Hornets for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.