After blowing a 19-point lead in the 2nd half the Boston Celtics rallied from down 7 in the 4th quarter to not only defeat the Charlotte Hornets, but they eliminated them from playoff contention as well. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 32 points on 10-18 shooting (5-11 from three) and 6 assists. Kelly Olynyk was terrific starting in place of an ill Amir Johnson, he had his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds and shot an efficient 6-10 from the field.
For the Hornets, Nicolas Batum had a season-high 31 points and 8 rebounds while Kemba Walker chipped in 23 points and 8 assists, but it wasn't enough to keep Charlotte's playoff hopes alive.
The Celtics came out swinging, dropping 71 points in the 1st half and building a 17-point lead heading into the break. Al Horford and Thomas were responsible for a good portion of that early damage with 14 and 19 points respectively to get the Celtics off and running in the 1st half:
Isaiah Thomas is doing his thing with 19 points. @celtics hold 71-54 lead on @hornets at the half. pic.twitter.com/9MCCGIX0b5— NBA (@NBA) April 8, 2017
Hornets coach Steve Clifford was ejected with just over a minute left in the 2nd quarter after recieving his 2nd technical foul after arguing with the officials.
.@hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford has picked up his second technical and has been ejected from the game.#BuzzCity pic.twitter.com/0P2269gMZQ— FOX Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnFSSE) April 8, 2017
In the 3rd quarter the Celtics stretched their lead to as many as 19 points, but the Hornets were able to close the gap and cut the Celtics lead to 6 (92-86) heading into the 4th.
Their rally didn't stop there as they continued to keep the momentum on their side to the tune of a 21-5 run into the 4th quarter and took a 7-point lead with a little under halfway into the final frame:
Hornets on 21-5 run with 6:37 to go in the 4th Q! Hornets lead 104-97. #BuzzCity pic.twitter.com/t8WFNecXCJ— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) April 8, 2017
The C's answered back with a run of their own though, closing the game on a 24-10 run and some big shots when the need them from Thomas and Avery Bradley who iced the game with a pair of clutch three-pointers to send the Hornets fishing when the regular season finishes.
Isaiah chalked up the late game success tonight to coach Brad Stevens dialing up the offense, and just letting it ride:
Thomas attributes Boston's 9-0 run in the 4th to Brad Stevens' play calling: "Brad drew up a play that just kept working 3 or 4 times."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 9, 2017
Tonight's win keeps the Celtics hope for the 1-seed alive, with Cleveland losing to Atlanta last night the Celtics trail the Cavs by just a half a game with just two left; although Cleveland holds the tiebreaker with a 3-1 season head-to-head advantage. The Celtics next take on the Brooklyn Nets Monday night in Boston.
Photo Credit - Celtics.com
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 4/08/2017 10:45:00 PM Tweet Edit