Celtics top Hornets despite Ball’s career-best 38 points
Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, February 2, 2022
By KEN POWTAK
BOSTON (AP) — Josh Richardson made six 3-pointers and scored 23 points, Jayson Tatum hit two key free throws and finished with 19 points and the Boston Celtics held off the Charlotte Hornets 113-107 on Wednesday night, overcoming a career-best 38 points by LaMelo Ball.
Marcus Smart scored 22 points and Jaylen Brown 15 as Boston won its third straight.
Terry Rozier scored 23 points, P.J. Washington 16, Kelly Oubre Jr. 15, and Mason Plumlee had 17 rebounds for the Hornets, who have lost four of six.
Boston shot 14 for 36 from 3-point range and Charlotte made 12 of 40 from long distance.
Rozier’s 3-pointer from the top of the key tied it at 107 with 62 seconds left.
Tatum then hit two free throws and, after Robert Williams III blocked Washington’s 3-point attempt, Smart hit two free throws with 15.6 seconds to play.
Boston had opened a 93-83 lead on Richardson’s sixth 3-pointer of the game with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth.
But the Hornets made a late charge. Rozier’s left-wing 3 sliced it to 103-98 with 2:56 to play. Ball was then fouled by Tatum, who was also whistled for a technical on the play.
Ball nailed all three from the line, giving him a career high, and cutting it to 103-101 with just over two minutes left.
The Celtics had scored 18 of the final 26 points of the third quarter, with Brown hitting a jumper from the foul line just before the buzzer to give Boston an 88-78 edge entering the fourth.
Hornets: F Gordon Hayward cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols but didn’t travel with the team. … In their last trip to Boston, Ball had a triple-double, grabbing a rebound to complete it with 0.2 left in a game during a 111-102 victory.
Celtics: Shot 53.7% in the first half (22 of 41) with Tatum, Smart and Richardson all shooting 50% or better. … Al Horford briefly went to the locker room midway into the second quarter.
THAT WAS QUICK
Boston opened a 12-point lead early in the second quarter, but the Hornets wiped it out quickly with a 14-1 spurt in just 2½ minutes.
Hornets: Host the Cavaliers on Friday.
Celtics: At the Pistons on Friday.
More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports